June 20, 2015



  • Occurs when a bursa or cushioning sac in the shoulder, elbow, hip, knee or buttock area, becomes swollen and/or painful.
  • Causes include:
    1. Repetitive motion and joint injury. It is therefore more common with certain activities or occupations.
    2. A bursa can become infected. A good example is when such a hot red swollen swelling occurs on the tip of the elbow, and is called a septic olecranon bursitis.
    3. You can also develop bursitis from arthritis, gout, and pseudogout.

Symptoms: pain, tenderness, swelling and, difficulty moving the joint. If you have a sudden swelling and redness and/or you have a fever, you should see a doctor right away. There are different types of bursitis named after the location of symptoms:

  • Shoulder bursitis – difficulty raising your arm overhead due to pain. Seen in people who do a lot of overhead work or who use a throwing motion (like baseball players).
  • Olecranon bursitis – a swelling the size of a golf ball forms at the tip of the elbow. Can be caused by repeated leaning on the elbows (trauma) rheumatoid arthritis, gout, pseodogout or infection.
  • Trochanteric bursitis – causes pain and aching in the hip and on the outside of the thigh. It gets worse while walking and while lying on the affected side. Common if one leg shorter or osteoarthritis of the hip, lower spine or knee.
  • Ischial bursitis (“Weaver’s bottom”, “Tailor’s seat”) – Pain in the buttock that can be severe on sitting or lying down and can travel down the back of the thigh. Occurs after injury or after sitting extensively on hard surfaces.
  • Anserine bursitis – pain and tenderness below the inner knee worse on ascending stairs. It is most common in overweight, older women with osteoarthritis of the knees or in people with knock-knees and runners from overuse.

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