May 28, 2021

What is Bursitis?

Bursitis is a common but painful problem that affects people of all ages. It occurs when the bursa, a small but extremely important serous sac between tendon and bone, becomes inflamed.  The bursae (plural) sacs are located throughout the body in places of friction like the hip, shoulder and knee areas. These sacs contain the synovial fluid that allows movement within the areas by reducing the friction between them. When there has been an irritation or injury to the joint the bursa may become inflamed, causing pain, restricting motion, and producing more fluid than can be absorbed readily.

Bursitis happens when there is too much stress placed on the bursa. It can be caused by repetitive pressure, office workers who sit in the same position for long periods of time or people (side sleepers) who sleep in the same position each night. Bursitis also arises from repetitive friction as in athletes who continually use the same joints for motion, such as in tennis players, pitchers and quarterbacks.

Another type, traumatic bursitis, is less common and happens with sudden onset due to a specific event. For example, a fall where you land on your hip, knee or elbow will cause an initial inflammation to the bursa.

Bursitis can also occur due to infection and is more serious. Infected bursitis needs immediate attention by a doctor who will treat the infection with antibiotics. Important symptoms to recognize are fever, pain, excessive warmth and inflammation at the bursa site with acute tenderness.

Symptoms of Bursitis
• Pain and tenderness at the joint
• Stiffness
• Swelling (many times without any pain or redness)
• Burning sensation that surrounds the joint

Your doctor may recommend various treatment options depending upon the severity of the condition.

• Nonsteroidial anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) ibuprofen, naproxen

• Topical formulas contain menthol for pain relief

• Stay hydrated

• Physical therapy

• Corticosteroid injections

• Ultrasound therapy

• Arthroscopic removal of the bursa


• Avoid repetitive motions that stress the joint area

• Reduce compression to the area

• Practice good posture

• Don’t sit for long periods of time

• Routine stretching the affected joint

Video: Hip Bursitis Health Byte

Disclaimer: This information is not a substitute for professional medical help or advice. This site does not provide medical advice or diagnosis. See your doctor for information on this condition.

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