Bursitis is a term that most of us have heard… yet the majority have no idea what it actually is.

A bursa is a small, very thin walled sac that the body puts between a bony prominence and the skin or muscles and tendons.  We literally have dozens of bursae all around the body.

shoulder bursitisThe cells inside the wall of the bursa make a small amount of fluid to allow our bones and tendons to glide on one another without pain or friction.  If the bursa becomes inflamed, or infected then the cells will make a lot more fluid.  The bursa will become larger and it can be quite painful.

Common Causes of Bursitis:

  • Trauma or Injury
  • Gout
  • Chronic repetitive stress
  • Infections

By far the most common cause of bursitis is chronic  repetitive stress.  The most common areas in our body to suffer from bursitis are the:

  • Shoulder
  • Knee
  • Elbow and
  • Ankle

patella bursitisMost cases of bursitis will subside or go away on its own.  Moist heat, anti-inflammatories and gentle compression can help a more stubborn case.  On rare occasion, removal of the fluid or a steroid injection can be useful to get a nasty case of bursitis to go away.


Disclaimer:  this information is for your education and should not be considered medical advice regarding diagnosis or treatment recommendations. Some links on this page may be affiliate links. Read the full disclaimer.

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About the author:

Howard J. Luks, MD

Howard J. Luks, MD

A Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon in Hawthorne, NY. Dr. Howard Luks specializes in the treatment of the shoulder, knee, elbow, and ankle. He has a very "social" patient centric approach and believes that the more you understand about your issue, the more informed your decisions will be. Ultimately your treatments and his recommendations will be based on proper communications, proper understanding, and shared decision-making principles – all geared to improve your quality of life.