Function & Location of Shoulder Bursae

Bursae (plural for bursa) are flattened sacs of synovial fluid that function as cushions between your 1) bones and muscles (deep bursae) or 2) bones and tendons (superficial bursae) to reduce friction and allow your soft tissue to slide over bone easily during muscle use. Bursae are lined with synovial tissue that secretes fluid rich in protein and collagen. This slick fluid helps the bursa act as a lubricating buffer between areas in your body where friction (rubbing) is greatest.

Bursae of the Shoulder

Subdeltoid, subacromial, subscapularis and subcoracoid bursae in the shoulder

In amongst your bones, muscles and tendons in the shoulder there are 8 bursae, the most of any single joint in your body. The major bursae in your shoulder include: the subscapular bursa, the subdeltoid bursa, the subacromial bursa, and the subcoracoid bursa. View more non-shoulder specific information about bursae here.

The major bursae of the shoulder are as follows:

Subscapular Bursa

The Subscapular Bursa is located between the tendon of the subscapularis muscle and the shoulder joint capsule.

Subcoracoid Bursa

The Subcoracoid Bursa sits between the coracoid process of the scapula and the shoulder joint capsule.

Subacromial Bursa

The Subacromial Bursa is situated below the acromion process and above the greater tubercle of the humerus -lessening the friction when you move your arm or raise it overhead. The subacromial bursa protects the supraspinatus tendon from rubbing against the coracoid process and acromion.

The subacromial is the bursa in the shoulder that is most commonly affected by bursitis. It acts as a cushion to allow the supraspinatus tendon to slide smoothly over the neighboring soft tissue and bone. Due to its location and relationship to the acromion and supraspinatus, the subacromial bursa tends to be most at risk of being impinged or irritated.

The most common symptom of subacromial bursitis is experiencing pain when lifting overhead. This is because the head of the humerus is compressing the swollen bursa against the glenohumeral joint and the underside of the acromion. If you have pain when lifting over head, however, it could indicate one or more soft tissue injuries in the shoulder. Subacromial bursitis is very often diagnosed alongside other rotator cuff problems or impingement syndrome.

Subdeltoid Bursa

The Subdeltoid Bursa is located between the deltoid muscle and the shoulder joint cavity. This bursa protects the deltiod muscle - cushioning it from bones in the shoulder joint capsule. The subdeltoid bursa and subacromial bursa are quite close together and are usually joined together.

Bursa Swelling

When a bursa becomes swollen, the sac itself can develop little tears and may cause tears to the surrounding soft tissue. In some cases, the inflamed bursa also becomes infected with bacteria (referred to as septic bursitis) and in such cases it is important to get to a doctor asap as they can quickly become life threatening.

If you are looking for information about bursitis in the shoulder, please take a look at our shoulder bursitis information & treatment page here.

Knitting Lady Applying Arnica Infusion Pain Relef Cream on Foot
MendMeShop Arnica Infusion Pain Relief Cream

Pain Keeping You Awake?
Pain Keeping You In Bed?
Pain Got You On Edge?
Temporary Relief from Serious Pain For People Who Are Serious About It! Comes with our MendMeShop 60 day money back guarantee.

View MendMeShop's Arnica Infusion Cream in our Online Store
Shoulder TShellz Wrap Treatment Before Softball
MendMeShop Shoulder TShellz Wrap®

Augment your recovery while reducing risk of re-injury. A TShellz application is intended to:

  • increase extensibility & flexibility of shoulder soft tissue during treatment & for a short while after
  • increase blood flow in the application area
  • be used on either shoulder
Comes with our MendMeShop 60 day money back guarantee.

View The Shoulder TShellz Wrap® in our Online Store
MendMeShop Muscle Rub Stick
MendMeShop Muscle Rub

Looking for a Portable Muscle Pain Relief Stick? Our Muscle Rub Stick is

  • Made in the USA
  • Made with a proven formula to provide safe & quick relief from muscle soreness
Use up to 4 times per day for instant relief!. Comes with our MendMeShop 60 day money back guarantee.

View MendMeShop Muscle Rub Here

AidMyBursa advisors do not work on commission, so be assured you will only receive fair and objective information.

Product specialists are available 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Eastern Standard Time Monday to Friday.

If any question or concern arises, call us or simply send us an email at any time (we check our emails constantly all throughout the day and night.. even on holidays!). We will respond as soon as possible.

North America Toll Free 1-866-237-9608
Outside North America +1-705-532-1671


Please be aware that this information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. All testimonials and comments reflect the real life experiences of individuals that used our products, however, individual results may vary. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider before using any of our outstanding products to make sure they are right for you and your condition or if you have any questions regarding a medical condition.

For more information, call us via: 1-866-237-9608 or send us an email. View our Privacy Policy.
The terms Inferno Wrap®, Freezie Wrap®, T-Shellz® and® are registered trademarks of In.Genu Design Group Inc.
All images shown are exclusive Copyright© 2006 - 2024