What Is Bursitis And Bursitis Symptoms

While most victims of bursitis are plagued with the more common shoulder, elbow, hip, it is very commonly found in the big toe, knee (prepatellar), and heel (Achilles tendon). The bursae is a sack that lies between tendons, joints, and bones. Its biggest responsibility is to reduce impact and prevent the tissues from rubbing together. The bursa sack produces synovial fluid, which keeps theses tissues lubricated and prevents friction.

Bursae are filled with viscous or synovial fluid that has the same consistency and appearance, as raw egg whites.

What is Bursitis

Bursitis occurs when the bursae becomes compromised due to overuse and other factors that are linked to the condition. Inflammation or buildup of fluid in the bursa, bursitis is very commonly seen in athletes, blue collar workers, and those that work in fields that perform a lot of repetitive tasks.


  • Overuse of a particular joint and tendons
  • Trauma
  • Infections (staphylococcus aureus) most often occurs, when the body is too weak to fight off bacteria, especially diabetics, alcoholics, immunocompromised, and open wounds located over the skin, where the bursae is located.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis conditions (gout) occurs, when crystal deposits form in the bursa

Trauma Bursitis

There are 2 types of trauma bursitis, which is classed by the causes of the inflammation.

  • Acute is caused by a direct blow to the body area, where the bursae is located. Blood will leak into the bursae and cause extreme pain and inflammation.
  • Chronic is caused by repetitive movements, such as using a sewing machine that requires continuous use of the subdeltoid (shoulder bursae).

Symptoms of Bursitis

  • Edema
  • Body area warm to touch
  • Pain increases on movement
  • Skin area may potentially become reddened
  • Joint localized pain
  • Joint stiffness
  • Pain becomes worse at night

Hip bursitis symptoms may include sharp and intense pain at the site of the hip, with pain becoming worse at night. Edema and warmth may also be noted at the site. The hip contains 2 bursa including the greater trochanter and the iliopsoas.

Bursitis shoulder symptoms may include poor range of motion, edema, warm to touch, and sharp pain to dull ache.

Bursitis Home Remedies

  • Ice (only leave ice on body area for 15 minute intervals to prevent skin damage)
  • Alternate ice and heat packs (leaving on for 15 minutes each)
  • Rest

Medical Alternatives

  • Antibiotics (septic bursitis only)
  • Physical therapy
  • Corticosteroid medications
  • NSAIDs (Advil)
  • Cortisone Injections

Bursitis Diagnosis

  • X-Ray
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Arthrocentesis (Viscous Fluid Aspiration Testing)
  • Glucose Level Testing (lower levels may indication that infection is present)
  • Gram Stain Testing (bacterial identifier)
  • WBC (elevated WBCs in the synovial fluid indicates that infection is present)