Common Causes for Subacromial Bursitis

PT working with a patient

As your shoulders are the most mobile joint in your body, having a painful shoulder can affect your daily life and diminish its quality. Subacromial bursitis is one of the most known shoulder problems. The inflammation of the subacromial bursa in your shoulder causes subacromial bursitis. It is a painful condition and the pain develops gradually over time and radiates down the arm and limits your motion and function.

The following are the most common causes:

Overuse and Repetitive Motion

Overuse and repetitive motion are the most common causes of subacromial bursitis. For example, Jobs that involve extensive motion of the shoulder, tasks such as laying carpet or scrubbing floors, painters, construction workers, electricians, and lifting heavy weights in labor-intensive jobs, etc.

Sports and Athletes

Being an athlete or sports person, there is always a high risk of developing medical conditions such as subacromial bursitis, especially if the sports you play involve repetitive overhead motions (badminton and tennis) and throwing sports (baseball, javelin throw, shot put, etc.) where a large amount of force is involved when throwing, and swimming which involves overhead motions.

Direct Injury

Direct trauma to the shoulder or falling on an outstretched arm can also cause inflammation of the bursa. Injury to the supraspinatus tendon also causes inflammation and impingement of the subacromial bursa, which eventually results in subacromial bursitis.

Underlying Conditions

Underlying medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, diabetes, thyroid disease, or even a bacterial infection can cause shoulder bursitis.

Poor Posture and Stretching

Incorrect posture at work, home, sports, and poor stretching before a workout, can also lead to shoulder bursitis.

Other causes for subacromial bursitis are:

The shape of your shoulder bone
Bone spur formation
Less space between your tendon and bursa
Crystal deposition
Subacromial hemorrhage


There are a number of different bursae surrounding the shoulder, but the subacromial bursa is the most commonly affected. Shoulder bursitis is often accompanied by other shoulder conditions, such as impingement syndrome, rotator cuff tendonitis, etc. Having a full shoulder diagnosis with an orthopedic specialist can help you identify the condition in the early stage.

Carolina Regional Orthopaedics

Carolina Regional Orthopaedics provides the most effective, modern, and innovative techniques in both Orthopedic Surgery and Pain Management using proven methodologies in both the surgical and non-surgical treatment of all conditions affecting the spine, upper extremities, and lower extremities. We specialize in hand and wrist surgery, joint replacements, sports medicine, trauma care, pediatric orthopedics, pain management, wound care, regenerative medicine, physical therapy, imaging services, and EMG testing.