What is Bursitis?

Small pads, called bursae, act as cushions around your bones and the tendons and muscles that surround your joints. When these bursae become inflamed, the condition is called bursitis.

How Does it Happen?

Usually bursitis is the result of repetitive motions or constant positions that irritate a joint. For instance, if you kneel a lot, put weight on your elbows, sit on hard surfaces, or frequently throw a baseball or swing a tennis racquet, you may develop bursitis.

What are the Signs and Symptoms?

The signs of bursitis can include the following.

  • A joint that is stiff or achy
  • A joint that is painful, especially when you press on it.
  • Swelling or redness around a joint

How is it Diagnosed?

Your doctor may diagnose bursitis by listening to a description of your symptoms and doing an examination of the affected joint. He or she may also suggest blood tests or imaging tests such as x-rays to rule out other causes of your symptoms.

How is it Treated?

In most cases, bursitis can be treated with rest so the affected area can heal. You can also apply ice to reduce the swelling and try over-the-counter pain relievers.

Your doctor may offer pain management in the form of a cortisone shot. This will bring immediate relief to your joint. He or she may also suggest physical therapy so you can strengthen the muscles surrounding the joint.

What is the Prognosis?

If you rest the affected joint, you should recover well. However, if you continue to put pressure on the affected joint or overuse it, the bursitis can recur.