Robert E. Leach, MD
is inflammation of a bursa. A bursa is a thin sac that lies between bone and soft tissue near certain joints. A healthy bursa allows smooth movement of soft tissue over bone. Inflammation can make it painful to move the nearby joint.
Bursitis occurs most often in the:
Bursitis may be caused by:
If the stress is not relieved, bursitis can become a long-term condition.
Factors that may increase your chance of bursitis include:
Bursitis may cause:
You will be asked about your symptoms and your physical activities. The painful area will be examined.
Images may be taken of your bodily structures. This can be done with
treatment will focus on decreasing inflammation and pain. The main step is to stop the activity causing the pain. You will be asked to rest the area and protect it from injury.
Your doctor may also recommend:
If the bursitis is painful, your doctor may recommend a corticosteroid injection. These injections have short-term benefits and some risk. They may be limited to conditions that interfere with daily activities.
Chronic bursitis may need more aggressive treatment. Additional steps may include:
To help reduce your chance of bursitis:
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Canadian Association of General Surgeons
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Bursitis. The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center website. Available at:
http://wexnermedical.osu.edu/patient-care/healthcare-services/arthritis-rheumatology/bursitis. Accessed December 15, 2013.
Bursitis and tendonitis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bursitis. Updated June 2013. Accessed December 15, 2013.
Elbow (olecranon) bursitis.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at:
Updated January 2011. Accessed December 15, 2013.
Hip bursitis. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00409. Updated August 2007. Accessed December 15, 2013.
Prepatellar bursitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated September 5, 2012. Accessed December 15, 2013.
Tendinitis and bursitis. American College of Rheumatology. Available at:
http://www.rheumatology.org/Practice/Clinical/Patients/Diseases_And_Conditions/Tendinitis_and_Bursitis. Updated February 2013. Accessed December 15, 2013.
Last reviewed December 2014 by
Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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