All you need to know About Bursitis

Bursitis is the swelling or inflammation of the bursa. These are sacs filled with lubricating fluid and are located between tissues such as muscle, bone, tendons, and skin that reduce rubbing, irritation and friction.

All you need to know About Bursitis

Causes of Bursitis

While Bursitis is often caused by frequent minor impact on the area or from a sudden severe injury, age also plays a crucial role. This is because with age tendons are able to tolerate less stress and becomes less elastic and easier to tear.

Injury or overuse of the joint while working or playing can also increase a person's risk of getting bursitis. High-risk activities like gardening, carpentry, raking, shoveling, scrubbing, painting, tennis, golf, skiing, throwing, and pitching can cause bursitis in people. Incorrect posture at work or home and poor stretching before exercise can also lead to bursitis.

Who Usually Gets Bursitis?

Bursitis is more common in adults, particularly in those over 40 years of age.

What Body parts are affected?

  • Elbow
  • Shoulder
  • Hip
  • Knee
  • Achilles tendon

Symptoms of Bursitis

The symptoms of bursitis are associated directly with:

  • degree of inflammation present in the bursa,
  • Location of the bursa involved.

The most common symptom of bursitis is pain that might build up slowly or be sudden and severe. Adhesive capsulitis or frozen shoulder, which is severe loss of motion in the shoulder can also result from the immobility and pain associated with shoulder bursitis.

Localized pain and tenderness can also be the result of the inflamed bursa. Over inflamed bursa can cause local swelling and stiffness, which is sometimes related with redness and warmth. This swelling can make it painful to support body pressure. Hip bursitis, for example, can make it difficult to lie down on the affected side of the hip.

Diagnosis of Bursitis

Bursitis is typically diagnosed by localized pain or swelling, soreness, and pain with motion of the tissues in the affected area. Sometime, X-ray testing can also detect calcifications in the bursa when bursitis is chronic or recurrent. Though MRI scanning can be used to diagnose bursitis, it is not always necessary.

Preventing Bursitis

If you really want to prevent bursitis, start exercising today and you’ll be less likely to get it. This will help you gradually build up force and repetitions.

How Is Bursitis Treated?

Bursitis treatment usually involves traditional remedies, such as rest, ice and taking a pain reliever. If these don't work, treatment may include:

  • Medication - If infection is the cause of inflammation in your bursa, your doctor might prescribe an antibiotic.
  • Therapy - Physical therapy or exercises are recommended to strengthen the muscles in the affected area to soothe pain and prevent relapse.
  • Injections - Injecting a corticosteroid drug into the bursa is recommended that helps relieve inflammation in your shoulder or hip. Generally, this treatment gives rapid pain relief. In many cases, one injection is sufficient to ease the pain and inflammation.
  • Assistive device - Temporary use of a walking cane or other device can help relieve pressure on the affected area.
  • Surgery - Sometimes, you may require a surgery to drain off an inflamed bursa, but only rarely is surgical removal of the affected bursa necessary.

Bursitis can also be treated by:

  • Avoiding activities that aggravate the problem
  • Resting the injured area
  • Icing the area the day of the injury
  • Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines


Consult your doctor if you have any of the below additional symptoms as these could be signs of another problem that needs more immediate attention:

  • Fever (over 102 Fahrenheit)
  • Swelling, redness, and warmth
  • General illness or multiple sites of pain
  • Inability to move the affected area

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