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Leg Stress Fracture, Tibia
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Shoulder-Blade (Scapula) Bursitis
Shoulder-Blade (Scapula) Contusion
Shoulder-Blade Fracture, Acromion
Shoulder-Blade (Scapula) Fracture, Coracoid Process
Shoulder-Blade (Scapula) Fracture, Glenoid Fossa
Shoulder-Blade (Scapula) Fracture, Neck
Shoulder-Blade (Scapula) Strain
Shoulder Bursitis, Gleno-Humeral
Shoulder Bursitis, Subacromial
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Shoulder Sprain, Gleno-Humeral
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Wrist Tenosynovitis

Shoulder-Blade (Scapula) Bursitis

Inflammation of any of the bursas of the scapula (shoulder blade or wingbone). Bursitis may vary in degree from mild irritation to an abscess formation that causes excruciating pain. There are several bursas around the body of the scapula. Scapula bursitis develops most frequently in the bursa between the body of the scapula and muscles of the chest wall.

Body Parts Involved

  • Scapula bursas (soft sacs filled with lubricating fluid that facilitate motion in the scapula area).
  • Soft tissue surrounding the scapula, including nerves, tendons, ligaments, large blood vessels, capillaries, periosteum (the outside lining of bone) and muscles.


  • Injury to the scapula.
  • Acute or chronic infection.
  • Arthritis.
  • Gout.
  • Unknown (frequently).

Signs & Symptoms

  • Pain around or under the scapula.
  • Tenderness.
  • Swelling.
  • Redness (sometimes) over the affected bursa.
  • Fever if infection is present.
  • Limitation of motion in the scapula area, including the shoulder.


Note:- Follow your doctor's instructions. These instructions are supplemental.

First Aid

None. This problem develop slowly.

Continuing Care

  • Use ice massage. Fill a large Styrofoam cup with water and freeze. Tear a small amount of foam from top so ice protrudes. Massage firmly over the injured area in a circle about the size of a softball. Do this for 15 minutes at a time, 3 or 4 times a day, and before workouts or competition.
  • After 72 hours of ice treatment, apply heat if it feels better. Use heat lamps, hot soaks, hot showers, heating pads, or heat liniments or ointments.
  • Use a sling to support the shoulder and scapula, if needed.
  • Elevate the inflamed scapula and shoulder above the level of the heart to reduce swelling and prevent accumulation of fluid. Use pillows for propping.
  • Gentle massage will frequently provide comfort and decrease swelling.


Your doctor may prescribe:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Prescription pain relievers for severe pain.

Use non-prescription aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen (available under many trade names) for mild pain.

  • Injections into the inflamed bursa of a long-lasting local anesthetic mixed with a corticosteroid drug, such as triamcinolone.

Home Diet

Eat a well-balanced diet that includes extra protein, such as meat, fish, poultry, cheese, milk and eggs. Increase fiber and fluid intake to prevent constipation that may result from decreased activity. Your doctor may suggest vitamin and mineral supplements to promote healing.

Diagnostic Measures

  • Your own observation of symptoms.
  • Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
  • X-rays of the shoulder and scapula.
Prevention Tips
  • Use protective gear for contact sports.
  • Warm up adequately before athletic practice or competition.
  • Wear warm clothing in cold weather.
  • To prevent recurrence, continue to wear extra protection over the scapula until healing is complete.

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