What is Bursitis?
Inflammation of bursa, a soft fluid-filled sac that serves as a cushion between tendons and bones. Bursae usually affected are near the shoulders, elbows, knees, pelvis, hips or Achilles tendons.
Bursitis signs and symptoms
- Pain, tenderness and limited movement in the affected area with radiation of pain into the neck, arm and fingertips.
- Severe pain with movement of the arm.
- Fever (sometimes).
- Injury to a joint.
- Overuse of a joint.
- Strenuous, unaccustomed exercise.
- Calcium deposits in shoulder tendons with degeneration of the tendon.
- Acute or chronic infection.
- Unknown (frequently).
Risk increases with
- People who are involved in vigorous and repetitive athletic training.
- Exercise or sports participants who suddenly increase their activity levels ("weekend warriors").
- Improper stretching or overstretching.
- Avoid injuries or overuse of muscles whenever possible. Wear protective gear for contact sports.
- Appropriate warm-up and cool-down.
- Maintain a high fitness level.
This is a common, but not a serious problem. Symptoms usually subside in 7 to 14 days with treatment.
Frozen joint or permanent limitation of a joint's mobility.
- RICE therapy (rest, ice, compression, and elevation of affected joint).
- Apply ice packs to the affected area during a flare-up or after receiving injections in the joint.
- After the acute stage, continued ice treatment (until inflammation subsides) or heat application may be recommended. If you use heat, take hot showers, use a heat lamp, apply hot compresses or a heating pad, or rub in deep-heating ointment.
- Invasive therapy may include aspiration of the joint or surgical excision.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Cortisone injections into the bursa to reduce inflammation may be administered.
- Pain relievers if necessary.
Rest the inflamed area as much as possible. If you must resume normal activity immediately, wear a sling until the pain becomes more bearable. To prevent a frozen joint (especially in the shoulder), begin normal, slow joint movement as soon as possible.
No special diet.
Notify your physician if
- You or a family member has symptoms of bursitis.
- Pain increases, despite treatment.
- New, unexplained symptoms develop. Drugs used in treatment may produce side effects.
Last updated 27 May 2021