What is bursitis?

Bursitis is the inflammation of a fluid-filled sac around a joint. The bursa helps tendons slide smoothly over and around bones, and when it is inflamed (bursitis), you may experience pain, swelling and stiffness in the affected joint.

Bursitis most commonly occurs in the knees, elbows, shoulders, and hips. Bursitis can develop acutely or can be a chronic condition that comes and goes over a long period of time. Bursitis can be caused by trauma to a joint, the overuse of a joint, or medical conditions such as arthritis or gout. Bursitis is most common in middle-aged individuals.

Bursitis can affect anyone, but people who use a specific joint a great deal, such as the way a tennis player uses his or her elbow, and older people who have arthritis or gout are at the most risk. Bursitis is not a life-threatening condition, but it can severely impair mobility in the affected joint.

Seek prompt medical care if you are being treated for bursitis but joint symptoms recur or are persistent.


What are the symptoms of bursitis?

Symptoms of bursitis include pain and swelling around a joint as well as limited motion. Symptoms can be severe and may come and go with activity or for no apparent reason.

Common symptoms of bursitis

You may experience bursitis symptoms daily or just once in a while. At times, any of these bursitis symptoms can be severe:


What causes bursitis?

Anything that inflames the fluid-filled bursa can cause bursitis. The most common causes of bursitis are overuse and trauma, as might occur if, for example, you spend an entire day on your knees doing yard work. Other common causes include such medical conditions as arthritis or gout, which can lead to inflammation of the bu... Read more about bursitiscauses


How is bursitis treated?

Bursitis has relatively few complications, but it can limit your mobility. Therefore, treatment is important so as not to restrict your activity. Bursitis can disappear on its own, but will often respond well to anti-inflammatory medications and a little rest. More severe cases and chronic cases of bursitis may require steroid injections. Symptoms may recur at a later time after successful trea... Read more about bursitistreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Bones, Joints and Muscles

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