Bursitis 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.
Risk Factors TOP
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 x-rays.
Bursitis 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:
Bursitis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/bursitis. Updated February 28, 2017. Accessed November 10, 2017.
Elbow (olecranon) bursitis. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at:
Hip bursitis. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at:
Prepatellar bursitis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114661/Prepatellar-bursitis. Updated June 5, 2017. Accessed November 10, 2017.
Tendinitis and bursitis. American College of Rheumatology. Available at: https://www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Patient-Caregiver/Diseases-Conditions/Tendinitis-Bursitis. Updated May 2015. Accessed November 10, 2017.
Last reviewed November 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board
Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM