Shoulder bursitis

September 4, 2019

Hi guru!

Hoping you can help me. I have shoulder pain that started 4 days ago after pulling some weeds in the garden, the pain started 2 days after the gardening. It was only gentle so I’m finding it strange that it’s hurting so much!

I saw my gp and they got me straight in for an ultrasound which revealed bursitis and a tendon tear.

Now they want me to have a cortisone injection and also to speak with an orthopaedic surgeon regarding the tear.

What should I do?

September 4, 2019

Hi David

I’d hold fire for at least a week more. Despite your GPs best endeavours, they may have jumped the gun – and what they’ve seen on US may well be true pathology but may also have been around for a while and not symptomatic, especially the tendon tear.

What’s really normal is when you do something that you don’t do often, and is a new action for a muscle, the response is for the muscle/tendon to slightly swell (totally naturally) in protest – think of a DOMS type situation.

What’s different around the shoulder is these muscles/tendons have to slip under a small boney arch before they can attach to the arm. As you move these swollen muscles they’re forced through a contained arch – giving you pain and maybe we’ll be exhibited by the bursitis on US.

So having a jab is an option – but it’s a little like using a sledgehammer to crack a wall nut. I’d go for a more pragmatic approach of taking some OTC anti inflammatories (if you can), relative rest (don’t wedge your arm in end range positions, but do allow it to go through full range of motion) and slowly encourage the cuff (the muscles) to wake up (they’ll be a little pain inhibited).

Here’s a good selection of videos

Hope this helps.

The Guru

Guru Responded

Have more questions?

If you're struggling with Shoulder issues then we'd love to help. We offer appointments within 24 hours whether face to face at one of our London Physio Clinics, virtually or if you’d prefer we can arrange a home visit.

Request An Appointment

We aim to get back to you within an hour

How should we contact you?