What Is a Subacromial Injection?

What Is a Subacromial Injection?

Subacromial injections can be used to treat inflammation in the shoulder joint. This article will walk you through what a subacromial injection can treat and how it works.


Overview of a subacromial injection

Subacromial injections are one potential treatment for inflammation or impingement in the shoulder joint. These injections are typically reserved for those who have persistent shoulder pain that has not responded well to more conservative treatments.

In this procedure, an orthopaedic specialist will inject corticosteroid medicine into the subacromial space. This space is the area between the acromion, or the top protruding part of the shoulder blade that curves backward, and the top of the upper arm bone.

Muscles and tendons of the rotator cuff fill this space, along with a bursa, which is a small fluid-filled sac that reduces friction during movement of the joint. A variety of conditions can cause inflammation or irritation in this space. A subacromial injection can then help relieve the pain and discomfort associated with inflammation.


Causes of inflammation in the subacromial space

Inflammation can develop for several different reasons in the subacromial space. These can include

  • Rotator cuff injuries: the muscles or tendons involved in the rotator cuff suffer strains or tears
  • Shoulder impingement syndrome: the shoulder blade begins to rub painfully against and pinch part of the rotator cuff
  • Subacromial bursitis: inflammation of the bursa within the shoulder joint
  • Adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder): thickening and tightening of the capsule that surrounds the shoulder joint

Wear-and-tear related to aging can contribute to inflammation in the shoulder joint. Those who engage in rigorous activity that repetitively stresses the shoulder joint are also more likely to develop inflammation in the subacromial space (for example, swimmers and throwers). One-time injuries can also cause inflammation if a muscle or tendon is torn or strained.


Symptoms of inflammation in the subacromial space

Common symptoms of subacromial inflammation include

  • Persistent shoulder pain that typically gets worse with motion
  • Swelling of the shoulder joint
  • Tenderness
  • Redness
  • Difficulty moving the affected shoulder
  • Limited range of motion in the shoulder

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, seek medical attention to avoid worse injury and inflammation.


Treatment for subacromial inflammation: subacromial injections

Subacromial injections are one source of treatment for persistent inflammation in the subacromial space. This procedure involves an injection that releases corticosteroid medicine into the subacromial space to relieve inflammation and to restore range of motion of the shoulder joint.

Because these injections are powerful and can sometimes lead to a range of side effects, patients are limited to only several each year. Other treatments may also be necessary to further treat strains, tears, or other injury within the shoulder joint.

An orthopaedic specialist can determine your exact course of treatment depending on your individual case.


Subacromial injections at OAR

Inflammation can be painful and limiting. At OAR, our team of orthopaedic specialists and surgeons care about our patients’ health, well-being, and quality of life. If you’re suffering from persistent shoulder pain, a subacromial injection can help you find relief and get back to doing your favorite things.

Get in touch with us today to see how we can help you.

Only a doctor can tell you if you have this ailment. This is for informational purposes and should not be used in lieu of a doctor’s opinion.

Contact us today!