Bursitis - Shoulder & Hip

Bursitis of the shoulder and hip can cause severe pain and discomfort, but early intervention can help to ease the pain and restore your function.


Bursitis symptoms include localized pain and possible stiffness to the nearby joint and typically pain when pressure is applied to the area. In some cases, bursitis can cause swelling and/or redness to the area.


A bursa is a fluid filled sac that lies between bone and tendons to prevent any shearing forces. When a bursa becomes irritated, it can become inflamed and create discomfort. There are a few bursae in the shoulder and the hip that could become inflamed, but the most outer bursa is typically the one to become injured.

There are different reasons as to why the bursae can become inflamed, including overuse injuries. For example, constant overhead motion can cause shoulder bursitis. Constant pressure to the shoulder or hip can also cause the bursae to become inflamed. Rheumatoid arthritis, gout, infection, or specific injury to the area can also cause bursitis.


Your physical therapist will first take a history of your symptoms, including questions to understand your pain pattern, history of symptoms, how your symptoms affect your function throughout the day, and any help or doctors you may have seen. Next, your therapist will perform a thorough examination of your hip or shoulder mobility, strength, muscle flexibility, and ability to perform functional activities (such as walking or reaching overhead). Performing a comprehensive evaluation will help the therapist to understand the cause of the symptoms and how to treat it.

Treatment and Exercises

Your treatment plan will be personalized to you and your goals for therapy, whether it is getting back to tennis or being able to wash your hair without pain. The program will include manual hands on therapy and exercises focused on strengthening and flexibility that will help you get back to living the life you want.

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