Bursae are fluid-filled sacs found about your joints. They
surround the areas where tendons, skin, and muscle tissues meet bones. The
lubrication they add helps reduce friction during movement.
Bursitis is an inflammation of your bursae. Inflamed bursae cause
pain and discomfort in the affected location. They also limit the ways you can
move your joints.
What Are the Symptoms of Bursitis?
General symptoms of bursitis include:
- thickening of your bursae
Different types of bursitis also have their own, specific
- With prepatellar and olecranon bursitis, it can be hard to bend your arm or leg.
- Trochanteric and retrocalcaneal bursitis
can cause difficulty walking.
- Trochanteric bursitis
can make it painful to lie on your hip.
Types of Bursitis
There are several types of bursitis. These conditions may be
chronic, meaning they occur on a regular basis. Alternately they may be acute, meaning
they appear suddenly.
Prepatellar bursitis is
inflammation around your kneecaps. It can be acute or chronic.
Olecranon bursitis is
inflammation around your elbows. The affected bursae are located at the tips of
your elbows. It’s usually chronic.
Trochanteric bursitis occurs
in the bursae of your hips. It can develop slowly. It may appear alongside
other medical conditions, such as arthritis.
Retrocalcaneal bursitis may
cause pain and swelling in your heels. It can be acute or chronic.
Infectious bursitis is an infection in the bursa that causes the
bursa to become red, hot, or swollen, and also results in chills, fever, and
other symptoms of infection.
What Causes Bursitis?
The most common causes of bursitis are injuries or damage to your
bursae. Damage may trigger pain, swelling, and redness in the affected area.
However, causes tend to be different for each type of bursitis.
Tears or damage to your kneecaps or bursae may cause swelling.
Other causes are:
- sports-related activities
- bending your knees repeatedly
- staying on your knees for long periods of time
- bleeding in your bursae
Repeatedly resting your elbows on hard surfaces or a hard blow to
the back of the elbow (olecranon) can cause this type of bursitis. It can also
be caused by infection.
Many things can trigger bouts of inflammation and pain in your
hips. These include:
- lying on your hips for long periods of time
- improper posture while sitting or standing
- any disease that affects your bones, such as
Running, jumping, or other repetitive activities can inflame the
bursae in your heels. Beginning a strenuous exercise without properly warming
up may also be a cause. Shoes that are too tight in the back of the heel can
make it worse as it rubs against the bursa.
Who Is at Risk of Bursitis?
Risk factors for bursitis include:
- having a chronic medical problem
- participating in repetitive sports or activities
- improper posture
- getting an infection that can spread to your
bursae, bones, and joints
- injuries to the bursa
Bursitis can often be diagnosed by physical exam. However, tests
can also be used to diagnose this condition. Your doctor can use an MRI to take
images of the affected area. Blood tests and samples from the affected bursae
can also be used for diagnosis.
Rest, pain medication, and icing your joint may relieve your
bursitis. However, other treatments may be necessary:
- Antibiotics are
necessary in cases in which the bursa is infected.
- Corticosteroids can
be used to relieve pain, inflammation, and swelling as long as there is no
evidence of any infection in or around the bursa.
- Surgery can
be used to remove damaged bursae or drain fluids from the bursae.
therapy may help relieve pain and other symptoms.
Long-Term Outlook of Bursitis
Your condition may improve with treatment. However, bursitis can
become chronic. This may be more likely if your bursitis is caused by an
underlying health problem that can’t be treated.
Talk to your doctor if your pain or other symptoms don’t improve