The bursae facilitate motion between the components of the shoulder. There are eight identifiable bursae in the shoulder complex. However, only one, the large subacromial bursa, also known as the subdeltoid bursa, is clinically significant. The subacromial bursa is extraarticular; its roof adheres to the undersurface of the deltoid, and its floor to the underlying rotator cuff. A thick layer of synovial fluid between the roof and the floor normally allows smooth frictionless motion between the rotator cuff and adjacent structures.

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