Bursitis Shoulder

The shoulder joint has an incredible range of motion, more than any other joint in our body. The shoulder joint is also one of the most complex joints in your body. It’s made up of three bones and a multitude of muscles, tendons, and ligaments. What does it mean when you start to experience pain or stiffness in your shoulder? You could be suffering from shoulder bursitis.

Dr. David Colvin, trained in orthopaedic surgery in Perth. David's specialty is knee and shoulder surgery and sports injuries.

bursitis shoulder

What is Shoulder Bursitis?

Shoulder bursitis is also known as shoulder impingement or rotator cuff tendonitis. It can be caused by injury, overuse, or a bone spur in the shoulder.

Bursitis is an inflammation of a bursa, which is a small fluid-filled sac found around a joint. It acts as a cushion between moving parts in the joint to stop muscles, bones, and tendons from rubbing together.

When your shoulder bursa gets irritated, it becomes inflamed and develops scar tissue. This causes inflammation of the muscles and tendons which move the shoulder, and can then cause pain and loss of movement in the shoulder.

A common cause of shoulder bursitis is overuse of the shoulder joint, especially if that activity is performed repetitively or overhead. So be mindful if you are doing work-related activities or exercises that require repetitive movements as these can put stress on the shoulder joint.

Shoulder & Knee Surgery Perth

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What are the symptoms of Shoulder Bursitis?

A bursitis shoulder problem can cause:

  • A painful feeling on the outside of your shoulder.
  • Pain that may spread down your arm towards the elbow.
  • Pain which is worse when lying on your shoulder, particularly at night.
  • Aches made worse by using your arm repetitively above your head.
  • A painful arc of movement which is felt when lifting the arm between 60 degrees to 90 degrees to the side.
  • Often the shoulder pain is minimised by keeping your arm by your side.
bursitis shoulder

How is Shoulder Bursitis treated?

Shoulder bursitis is a relatively common problem involving the shoulder joint, but it can be very painful, and impact upon your everyday movement and quality of life.

If the shoulder bursitis or rotator cuff tendonitis does not settle down with over the counter anti-inflammatory treatments, you may be referred to see a physiotherapist for treatment. The physiotherapy treatment involves stretches and strengthening exercises. It can take months for this treatment to be effective. Cortisone injections into the bursa can also be a useful treatment.

What do you do if treatment is unsuccessful?

For some of our Perth patients, non-operative treatment is unsuccessful. You may need to see an orthopaedic surgeon. Dr David Colvin specialises in shoulder bursitis as well as impingement syndrome and rotator cuff tendonitis. He is located in Subiaco and is focused exclusively on shoulder and knee problems and treatments.

Call the friendly team at Western Orthopaedic Clinic in Perth on 08 9489 8788 to make an appointment.

CO.RE Exercises


In the field of shoulder and knee reconstruction, successful outcomes from an operation are 50% surgery and 50% rehabilitation. You could say the surgery is the easy bit, the rehabilitation is all hard slog. Dr Colvin’s CO.RE exercise programs are just that, a core plan for your successful recovery.

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Consulting Rooms

Dr David Colvin consults at:
Western Orthopaedic Clinic Suite 213,
25 McCourt Street,
Subiaco WA 6008 (Perth)

  • These rooms are part of St John of God Subiaco Hospital.
  • Parking is available on site.


Dr David Colvin operates at:
St John of God Subiaco Hospital
Salvado Road,
Subiaco WA 6008 (Perth)