What is bursitis?
Bursitis is a painful swelling
of a small sac of fluid called a bursa. Bursae (plural of bursa) cushion and
lubricate areas where tendons, ligaments, skin, muscles, or bones rub against
each other. People who repeat the same movement over and over or who put
continued pressure on a joint in their jobs, sports, or daily activities have a
greater chance of getting bursitis.
What causes bursitis?
Bursitis is commonly caused
- Overuse and repeated movements. These can
include daily activities such as using tools, gardening, cooking, cleaning, and
typing at a keyboard.
- Long periods of pressure on an area. For
example, carpet layers, roofers, or gardeners who work on their knees all day
can develop bursitis over the kneecap.
- Aging, which can cause the
bursa to break down over time.
- Sudden injury, such as a blow to
Bursitis can also be caused by other problems, such as
arthritis or infection (septic bursitis).
What are the symptoms?
Bursitis usually causes a
dull pain, tenderness, and stiffness near the affected bursa. The bursa may
swell and make the skin around it red and warm to the touch.
Bursitis is most common in the shoulder , elbow , hip , and knee . Bursitis may
also occur near the Achilles tendon or in the foot.
bursitis may be like those of
tendinopathy. Both occur in the tissues in and
around the joints.
Check with your doctor if your pain is severe, if the sore area becomes
very hot or red, or if you have a fever.
How is bursitis diagnosed?
Your doctor will check
for bursitis by asking questions about your past health and recent activities
and by examining the area.
If your symptoms are severe or get worse even after treatment, you may need other tests. Your doctor may drain fluid from the bursa through
a needle (aspiration) and test it for infection. Or you may need X-rays, an MRI, or an ultrasound.
How is it treated?
Home treatment is often enough
to reduce pain and let the bursa heal. Your doctor may suggest physical therapy to strengthen
the muscles around your joints.
Rest the affected area. Avoid any activity or direct pressure that may cause pain.
Apply ice or
cold packs as soon as you notice pain in your muscles or near
a joint. Apply ice 10 to 15 minutes at a time, as often as twice an hour, for
3 days (72 hours). You can try heat, or alternating heat and ice, after the first 72 hours.
Use pain relievers.
Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin, to reduce pain and inflammation. (Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than age 20.)
Acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) can also help with pain. Don't rely on medicine to relieve pain so that you can keep overusing the joint.
Do range-of-motion exercises each day. If your bursitis is in or near a joint, gently move the joint
through its full range of motion, even during the time that you are resting the
joint area. This will prevent stiffness. As the pain goes away,
add other exercises to
strengthen the muscles around your joint.
Avoid tobacco smoke.
Smoking delays wound
and tissue healing.