Bursitis is inflammation of a bursa. A bursa is a thin sac that lies between bone and soft tissue. It can be found near some joints. A healthy bursa lets muscles and tendons move smoothly over bone. Bursitis is more common in the:
|Bursitis in the Shoulder|
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Bursitis may be caused by:
- Injury to an area that contains a bursa
- Repetitive stress on the bursa
- Infection in a bursa
- Long periods of pressure on a joint, such as leaning on elbows, sitting, or kneeling on hard surfaces
- Health problems that cause inflammation in joints, such as rheumatoid arthritis and gout
Things that may raise the risk of this problem are:
- Repetitive motions, such as swimming, running, or tennis
A job that requires:
- Repetitive motions, such as hammering or painting
- Long hours in one position, such as a kneeling to put down carpeting
- Contact sports
- Sporting gear that is too tight
- A puncture or deep cut that involves the bursa
Bursitis can cause:
- Reddened skin
- Warmth around the area of the bursa
- Decreased motion of the nearby joint
- Decreased movement or strength of the nearby limb
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.
The goal of treatment is to ease pain and promote healing. Choices are:
- Supportive care, such as resting the area and applying cold compresses
- Medicines to ease pain and swelling, such as:
- Over the counter pain medicine
- Physical therapy to promote strength, flexibility, and range of motion
People who are not helped by these methods may need surgery.
To lower the risk of this problem:
- Exercise regularly to keep muscles strong
- Slowly increase the intensity and duration of activities
- Use the right safety gear and techniques when playing sports
- Use proper safety equipment at work
- Take breaks from repetitive tasks
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians http://familydoctor.org
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://orthoinfo.org
Canadian Association of General Surgeons http://www.cags-accg.ca
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation http://www.canorth.org
Bursitis. The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center website. Available at: http://wexnermedical.osu.edu/patient-care/healthcare-services/arthritis-rheumatology/bursitis. Accessed January 29, 2021.
Bursitis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/bursitis. Accessed January 29, 2021.
Elbow (olecranon) bursitis. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00028. Accessed January 29, 2021.
Hip bursitis. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00409. Accessed January 29, 2021.
Prepatellar bursitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/prepatellar-bursitis. Accessed January 29, 2021.
Reid CR, Bush PM, et al. A review of occupational knee disorders. J Occup Rehabil. 2010 Dec;20(4):489-501.
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Teresa Briedwell, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS
- Review Date: 01/2021
- Update Date: 01/29/2021