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Disease: Bursitis Bursitis
Category: Bones, joints, muscles diseases
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Disease Definition:

Bursitis, which is a painful inflammation, could develop when someone overuses or repetitively stresses their body’s joints.

There are more than 150 small and fluid-filled sacs called bursae that lubricate and cushion the pressure points between the bones and the tendons and muscles near the joints. These bursae help the joints to move with ease. When a bursa becomes inflamed making movement or pressure painful, bursitis occurs.

Usually, the joints in the shoulders, elbows or hips are affected with bursitis. However, it could also occur in the knee, heel and the base of the big toe. Although recurrent bursitis flare-ups are common, but usually, with proper treatment, the pain caused by bursitis will go away within a few weeks or so.

Work Group:

Prepared by: Scientific Section

Symptoms, Causes


Some of the signs and symptoms of bursitis are:


  • Occasional skin redness in the area of the inflamed bursa
  • A worsening of pain with movement or pressure
  • A dull ache or stiffness in the area around the elbow, shoulder, hip, big toe, knee or other joints
  • An area that feels swollen or warm to the touch.

Because the bursae of the hip are located beneath some of the body’s bulkiest muscles, bursitis of the hip won’t cause any visible swelling or skin redness. In the bursitis of the hip, pain will primarily occur over the greater trochanter, which is a portion of the thighbone (femur) that juts out just below where the bone joins the hip.


The most common causes of bursitis are repetitive motions or positions that irritate the bursae around a joint. Examples include:


  • Throwing a baseball or lifting something over the head repeatedly
  • Leaning on the elbows for long periods of time
  • Extensive kneeling, for tasks such as laying carpet or scrubbing floors
  • Prolonged sitting, particularly on hard surfaces

Some bursae at the knee and elbow lie just below the skin, so they are at higher risk of puncture injuries that can become infected and cause septic bursitis.





Treatment for bursitis includes:


  • Applying ice to reduce swelling
  • Resting and immobilizing the affected area
  • Taking NSAIDs in order to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

Generally, bursitis disappears within a couple of weeks with simple self-care and home treatment.

In some cases, in order to strengthen the muscles in the area, a person may be recommended some exercises or physical therapy. They may also be injected a corticosteroid drug into the bursa in order to relieve pain. Usually, this injection provides immediate relief.

Sometimes the bursa must be surgically drained, but only rarely is surgical removal of the affected bursa necessary.
A person may also need to take antibiotics in case their bursitis is caused by an infection.


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