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Bursitis is a painful condition that affects the small, fluid-filled sacs (bursae) that cushion bones, tendons, and muscles near your joints. When one or more of the small sacs becomes inflamed, the result is bursitis.

The most common locations for bursitis are in the shoulder, elbow, and hip.


  • Age. Bursitis is more common with age.
  • Occupations or hobbies. If your work or hobby requires repetitive motion or pressure on particular bursae, your risk of developing bursitis increases.
  • Other medical conditions. Certain diseases and conditions — such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and diabetes — increase your risk of developing bursitis.


A joint affected by bursitis may:

  • Feel achy or stiff
  • Hurt more when you move it or press on it
  • Look swollen and red


Bursitis is often diagnosed after a medical history and physical exam. Treatment typically involves resting the affected joint and protecting it from further trauma. In most cases, bursitis pain goes away within a few weeks with proper treatment, but recurrent flare-ups are common.


Conservative measures, such as rest, ice, and taking a pain reliever, are often effective in relieving symptoms. If conservative measures don’t work, other options include:

An antibiotic may be prescribed if the inflammation is related to a bacterial infection.

Injections. A corticosteroid drug may be injected into a bursa in a shoulder or hip to relieve inflammation. This treatment often brings rapid pain relief and, in many cases, one injection is all you need.

Therapy. Physical therapy to help strengthen the muscles in the affected area may ease the pain and prevent a recurrence.

Surgery. Sometimes an inflamed bursa must be surgically drained, but only rarely is the removal of the affected bursa necessary.


    • Use kneeling pads. A pad reduces the pressure on your knees.
    • Lift properly. Failing to bend your knees when you lift puts extra stress on the bursae in your hips.
    • Wheel heavy loads. Carrying heavy loads puts stress on the bursae in your shoulders. Use a dolly or a wheeled cart instead.
    • Take frequent breaks. Rest between repetitive tasks.
    • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight places more stress on your joints.
    • Exercise. Strengthening your muscles and tendons helps protect your joint

Excerpt From: The Mayo Clinic. “Mayo Clinic A to Z Health Guide”.

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