What is Bursitis?

What is Bursitis?

Bursitis is an inflammation or irritation of the bursa. A bursa is a fluid filled sac between tissues that reduces friction between tissues such as tendons, bones, muscles and skin.  The most common areas for bursitis are the hip, knee, elbow and shoulder. 

Bursitis often is associated with hip pain.  Symptoms of pain in the hip on the outside can be a sign of bursitis. 


What Causes Bursitis?

Mild trauma or repetitive stress to a specific area can cause bursitis. A bursa may become less pliable with age, which can make bursitis more likely.  Some activities that create a higher likelihood of developing bursitis include 

  • gardening
  • raking
  • carpentry
  • shoveling
  • painting
  • scrubbing
  • tennis
  • golf
  • throwing and pitching. 


Limited flexibility may lead to excessive pressure on a bursa which can cause bursitis.  Weakness of surrounding muscle can also lead to bursal inflammation.

Weakness in muscles of the hip can change the way you walk, run or squat. But that weakness can also lead to a change in the pressure on the bursa in the outside of the hip.  Over time, stress on the hip can lead to bursitis in the hip. Hip bursitis can be especially painful when lying on the side.

The most common areas for bursitis are the hip, knee, elbow and shoulderImage of bursitis of the Elbow


What are Symptoms of Bursitis?

The most common symptom of bursitis is pain. Pain may develop slowly or suddenly and become severe quickly. Bursitis in the shoulder can also lead to frozen shoulder, which is a severe loss of motion in the shoulder. At times the area which is affected is tender to the touch and often feels warm.  The patient will have pain with both active and passive motion.  Tendonitis is usually painful with just active motion. It is common to have tendonitis and bursitis at the same time in an area such as the shoulder or hip.

If you would like to learn more about Hip Bursitis, Home remedies for hip pain, and Hip Pain exercises, this article may help. hip bursitis


How Do You Treat Bursitis?

You can help prevent Bursitis with stretching and strength training. If you do have Bursitis, the home remedy is usually icing the affected area and taking over-the-counter medications. Treatment for bursitis may include steroid injections at the injured site to treat the inflammation at the source and decrease pain. In some cases, physical therapy may be needed to address weaknesses or tightness in the surrounding muscles both of which can predispose the tendons to tendonitis. In therapy, modalities such has heat, ultrasound and laser can be used to decrease the pain.  

The physicians, physical therapists, and athletic trainers at JOI are ready to help you get back to activity.  Learn more in this article about Hip Exercises That You Can Do at Home or Direct Access to JOI Rehab Physical Therapy.  For physical therapy for all types of bursitis, give us a call at 904-858-7045.


To schedule an appointment with an Orthopedic Specialist, please call 904-JOI-2000, schedule online or click below. JOI is now offering ASAP Telehealth and Fracture or Injury appointments.


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