Bursitis is the swelling and irritation of a bursa. A bursa is a fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion between a muscles, tendons, and bones.
Bursitis is often a result of overuse. It can be caused by a change in activity level, such as training for a marathon or by being overweight.
Bursitis can also be caused by trauma, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, or infection. Sometimes the cause cannot be found.
Bursitis commonly occurs in the shoulder, knee, elbow, and hip. Other areas that may be affected include the Achilles tendon and the foot.
Symptoms of bursitis may include any of the following:
Your doctor will talk to you about a treatment plan to help you resume your normal activity.
Tips to relieve bursitis pain:
For bursitis around the hips, knees, or ankle:
You should avoid activities that involve repetitive movements of any body part when possible.
Other treatments include:
As the pain goes away, your doctor or nurse may suggest exercises to build strength and keep movement in the painful area.
Surgery is rarely needed.
Some people do well with treatment. When the cause cannot be corrected, you may have long-term pain.
Call your health care provider if symptoms recur or do not improve after 3 to 4 weeks of treatment, or if the pain is getting worse.
When possible, avoid activities that include repetitive movements of any body parts.
Silverstein JA, Moeller JL, Hutchinson MR. Common issues in orthopedics. In: Rakel RE, Rakel DP, eds. Textbook of Family Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 30.
Updated by: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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