Shoulder Bursitis Exercises

Do these exercises as soon as your healthcare provider says you can.

  • Scapular active range of motion: Stand and shrug your shoulders up and hold for 5 seconds. Then squeeze your shoulder blades back and together and hold 5 seconds. Next, pull your shoulder blades downward as if putting them in your back pocket. Relax. Repeat this sequence 10 times.
  • Wand exercise, Flexion: Stand upright and hold a stick in both hands, palms down. Stretch your arms by lifting them over your head, keeping your arms straight. Hold for 5 seconds and return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.
  • Wand exercise, Extension: Stand upright and hold a stick in both hands behind your back. Move the stick away from your back. Hold this position for 5 seconds. Relax and return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.
  • Wand exercise, External rotation: Lie on your back and hold a stick in both hands, palms up. Your upper arms should be resting on the floor with your elbows at your sides and bent 90 degrees. Use your uninjured arm to push your injured arm out away from your body. Keep the elbow of your injured arm at your side while it is being pushed. Hold the stretch for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
  • Isometric shoulder external rotation: Stand in a doorway with your elbow bent 90 degrees and the back of the wrist on your injured side pressed against the door frame. Try to press your hand outward into the door frame. Hold for 5 seconds. Do 2 sets of 15.
  • Isometric shoulder internal rotation: Stand in a doorway with your elbow bent 90 degrees and the front of the wrist on your injured side pressed against the door frame. Try to press your palm into the door frame. Hold for 5 seconds. Do 2 sets of 15.
  • Resisted shoulder external rotation: Stand sideways next to a door with your injured arm farther from the door. Tie a knot in the end of the tubing and shut the knot in the door at waist level. Hold the other end of the tubing with the hand of your injured arm. Rest the hand of your injured arm across your stomach. Keeping your elbow in at your side, rotate your arm outward and away from your waist. Make sure you keep your elbow bent 90 degrees and your forearm parallel to the floor. Repeat 10 times. Build up to 2 sets of 15.
  • Scaption: Stand with your arms at your sides and with your elbows straight. Slowly raise your arms to eye level. As you raise your arms, spread them apart so that they are only slightly in front of your body (at about a 30-degree angle to the front of your body). Point your thumbs toward the ceiling. Hold for 2 seconds and lower your arms slowly. Do 2 sets of 15. Progress to holding a soup can or light weight when you are doing the exercise and increase the weight as the exercise gets easier.
  • Sleeper stretch: Lie on your injured side with your hips and knees flexed and your arm straight out in front of you. Bend the elbow on your injured side to a right angle so that your fingers are pointing toward the ceiling. Then use your other hand to gently push your arm down toward the floor. Keep your shoulder blades lightly squeezed together as you do this exercise. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.

Written by Tammy White, MS, PT, and Phyllis Clapis, PT, DHSc, OCS, for RelayHealth.
Published by RelayHealth.
© 2012 RelayHealth and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.

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