Bursitis is a disorder that causes pain in the body's joints. It most commonly affects the shoulder and hip joints. It is caused by an inflammation of the bursa, small fluid-filled bags that act as lubricating surfaces for muscles to move over bones. This inflammation usually results from overactivity of an arm or leg.
What is bursitis?
Bursitis is inflammation of a bursa. A bursa (the plural form is bursae) is a tiny fluid-filled sac that functions as a gliding surface to reduce friction between tissues of the body. There are 160 bursae in the body. The major bursae are located adjacent to the tendons near the large joints, such as the shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees.
What causes a bursa become inflamed?
A bursa can become inflamed from injury, infection (rare in the shoulder), or due to an underlying rheumatic condition. Examples of bursitis include injury as subtle as lifting a bag of groceries into the car to inflame the shoulder bursa (shoulder bursitis), infection of the bursa in front of the knee from a knee scraping on asphalt (septic prepatellar bursitis), and inflammation of the elbow bursa from gout crystals (gouty olecranon bursitis).
What are bursitis symptoms and signs?
The symptoms of bursitis are directly related to the degree of inflammation present in the bursa. The inflamed bursa can cause localized pain and tenderness. If the bursa is so inflamed that swelling occurs, it can cause local swelling and stiffness, sometimes associated with local redness and warmth. The inflammation can make it painful to support body pressure. For example, hip bursitis can make it difficult to lay on the affected side of the hip. Bursitis in the knee, for another example, can make it painful to lay with the knees touching each other.
How is bursitis diagnosed?
Bursitis is typically identified by localized pain or swelling, tenderness, and pain with motion of the tissues in the affected area. X-ray testing can sometime...