Bursitis (bur-SY-tis) is a painful condition that affects the small, fluid-filled sacs — called bursae (bur-SEE) — that cushion the bones, tendons and muscles near your joints. Bursitis occurs when bursae become inflamed.
The most common locations for bursitis are in the shoulder, elbow and hip. But you can also have bursitis by your knee, heel and the base of your big toe. Bursitis often occurs near joints that perform frequent repetitive motion.
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 of bursitis are common.
The most common causes of bursitis are repetitive motions or positions that irritate the bursae around a joint. Examples include:
- Throwing a baseball or lifting something over your head repeatedly
- Leaning on your elbows for long periods
- Extensive kneeling for tasks such as laying carpet or scrubbing floors
- Prolonged sitting, particularly on hard surfaces
Other causes include injury or trauma to the affected area, inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and infection.
If you have bursitis, the affected joint may:
- Feel achy or stiff
- Hurt more when you move it or press on it
- Look swollen and red
When to see a doctor
Consult your doctor if you have:
- Disabling joint pain
- Pain for more than one to two weeks
- Excessive swelling, redness, bruising or a rash in the affected area
- Sharp or shooting pain, especially when you exercise or exert yourself
- A fever