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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    I've been treated for bursitis but it's not settling down

    I have been having troubled with my right shoulder for approximately 6 months or more. I have been getting it strapped as well as attending physiotherapy. I also got an ultrasound done and it showed bursitis and a cyst in the para labral cyst resting adjacent to the posterior margin of the glenoid. I have had injections for the bursitis but with no success. It's getting worse, my physiotherapist has asked me to immobilise it and my GP is now sending me to an orthopaedic for a second opinion. I have a long wait, does anyone have any possible diagnoses? My right collarbone is sticking out about 1 cm more than my left - I have pain near the bottom of my collarbone that is at the front and also pain in the front and back of my shoulder joint. The radiographer suggested an MRI but due to me having a spinal stimulator I'm unable to.
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  • 5


    Rob Nash

    Exercise Physiologist

    Hi Michelle,

    Bursitises are normally the symptom, not the cause of shoulder issues. In most cases, the bursa can become inflamed and painful due to a mechanical issue with the shoulder joint. So it makes sense that having an injection to the bursa didn't provide much relief, that is because there is most likely a functional problem that is perpetuating the bursal issue. 

    I would recommend seeing someone who has a good reputation in treating shoulder pain, as they will most likely give you exercises to help you shoulder function better. This will off load the bursa and it will resolve.

    I wouldn't worry too much about collarbone inbalances (almost all people have postural imbalances that don't cause them any pain), or getting any scans done, a good therapist can do a thorough functional assessment of your shoulder without needing to see inside it.

    Good luck!

  • 1




    Dr Mark Haber

    Orthopaedic Surgeon

    Clinical Associate Professor Mark Haber is one of Australia's leading orthopaedic shoulder surgeons. He uses the latest shoulder arthroscopic (keyhole surgery) techniques to address shoulder … View Profile

    Hi Michelle,

    It can be very difficult to make the diagnosis and as Rob above said: "Bursitises are normally the symptom, not the cause of shoulder issues".

    If the injection into the bursa made NO difference, then maybe the bursistis is not the problem. I would suggest a review by a shoulder specialist.


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