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:
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Bursitis may be caused by:
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
- Problems moving the nearby joint
- Problems moving or weakness of the nearby limb
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. 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 pain relievers or steroids
- 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 methods when playing sports
- Use proper safety equipment at work
- Take breaks from repetitive tasks
- Bursitis. The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center website. Available at: https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/arthritis-rheumatology/bursitis.
- Elbow (olecranon) bursitis. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/elbow-olecranon-bursitis.
- Hip bursitis. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/hip-bursitis.
- Prepatellar bursitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/prepatellar-bursitis.
- Sports injuries. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/bursitis.
- Teresa Briedwell, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS
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