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Bursitis

Definition

Bursitis is the swelling and irritation of a bursa. A bursa is a fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion between a muscles, tendons, and bones.

Causes

Bursitis is often a result of overuse. It can be caused by a change in activity level, such as training for a marathon or by being overweight.

Bursitis can also be caused by trauma, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, or infection. Sometimes the cause cannot be found.

Bursitis commonly occurs in the shoulder, knee, elbow, and hip. Other areas that may be affected include the Achilles tendon and the foot.

Symptoms

Symptoms of bursitis may include any of the following:

Treatment

Your doctor will talk to you about a treatment plan to help you resume your normal activity.

Tips to relieve bursitis pain:

For bursitis around the hips, knees, or ankle:

You should avoid activities that involve repetitive movements of any body part when possible.

Other treatments include:

As the pain goes away, your doctor or nurse may suggest exercises to build strength and keep movement in the painful area.

Surgery is rarely needed.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Some people do well with treatment. When the cause cannot be corrected, you may have long-term pain.

Possible Complications

  

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if symptoms recur or do not improve after 3 to 4  weeks of treatment, or if the pain is getting worse.

Prevention

When possible, avoid activities that include repetitive movements of any body parts.

References

Silverstein JA, Moeller JL, Hutchinson MR. Common issues in orthopedics. In: Rakel RE, Rakel DP, eds. Textbook of Family Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 30.



Review Date: 9/8/2014
Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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