Subacromial bursitis


Shoulder bursa.
Shoulder anatomy, anterior.
  • Inflammation of the bursa that separates the superior surface of the supraspinatus tendon (one of the four tendons of the rotator cuff) from the overlying coraco-acromial ligament, acromion, coracoid (the acromial arch) and from the deep surface of the deltoid muscle[1]
  • The subacromial bursa helps the motion of the supraspinatus tendon of the rotator cuff in activities such as overhead work.
  • Commonly occurs in individuals who participate in repetitive overhead activities (athletes, manual laborers, and factory workers)[2]

Clinical Features

  • Point tenderness at the anterolateral aspect of the shoulder below the acromion
  • Pain with abduction of arm between 60-120 degrees

Differential Diagnosis

Shoulder and Upper Arm Diagnoses



Refered pain & non-orthopedic causes:




  • Typically a clinical diagnosis



  • Most patients can be discharged and treated outpatient
  • Consider admission if overlying cellulitis, signs of sepsis, or unable to tolerate pain

See Also

External Links


  1. Salzman KL, Lillegard WA, Butcher JD (1997). "Upper extremity bursitis". Am Fam Physician 56 (7): 1797–806, 1811–2. PMID 9371010.
  2. Faruqi T, Rizvi TJ. Subacromial Bursitis. [Updated 2022 May 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: