A bursa is a thin sac. It lies between bone and soft tissue near certain joints. A healthy bursa allows smooth movement of soft tissue over the bone. Bursitis is inflammation of a bursa. This 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 chronic (long term) condition. This can make permanent changes of the bursa.
Factors that increase your chance for bursitis include:
Symptoms of bursitis include:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and your physical activities. The painful area will be examined. You may have an x-ray.
Bursitis treatment will focus on decreasing the inflammation and pain. The main step is to stop the activity causing the pain. You will be asked to rest the area involved and protect it from trauma. Your doctor may also recommend:
If the bursitis is very 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:
The following steps may help to prevent bursitis:
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Bursitis. Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center website. Available at: http://medicalcent.... Accessed January 3, 2013.
Elbow bursitis. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00028. Accessed January 3, 2013.
Hip bursitis. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00409 . Accessed January 3, 2013.
Human Tendons: Anatomy, Physiology, and Pathology. Lippincott, Williams, and Wilkins; 1997.
Prepatellar bursitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated September 5, 2012. Accessed January 3, 2013.
Last reviewed November 2012 by Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 11/26/2012