Bursitis how to pronounce?

Bursitis is pronounced bur-SY-tis.

What is a bursa?

A bursa is a closed, fluid filled sac. Their role is to be a cushion between the tendons and surrounding tissues. They also provide a gliding surface to reduce friction between tendons and the surrounding tissues.  (link).

What is bursitis?

Inflammation of the bursa most commonly affecting the shoulder, elbow and hip. It can also affect the knee, heel and big toe.

How bursitis occurs?

It is caused by repetitive joint motion, repetitive pressure on the bursa, or a direct blow to the bursa. It can also be caused by a medical condition that causes inflammation. Examples of causes are: throwing a ball repetitively, kneeling directly on your knees, falling back and hitting the back of your elbow on a hard surface, rheumatoid arthritis, gout and infections.

Bursitis what to do? How bursitis is treated?

The treatment depends on whether or not infection is involved. If there is an infection, also known as septic bursitis, treatment includes antibiotics, removing fluid from the bursa, and possible removal of the bursa. 

If there is no infection, or aseptic bursitis, treatment initially includes rest, ice, compression and elevation (also known as R.I.C.E). Taking anti-inflammatories can also be helpful. To help protect the area and limit movement of the affected joint a physiotherapist may provide recommendations regarding splints or braces. They may also provide strategies to pad the affected area to minimize the effects of it being hit again. Your physiotherapist will also review activities that you should temporarily modify, provide exercises and manual therapy to address any tight tissue pressing on the bursa, along with advise on proper warm-up and cool-down of activity. If there is no progress, your family physician may treat it with a corticosteroid injection. 

Will bursitis go away?

If the above noted strategies are used, there is a good prognosis that the bursitis will go away in a few days or weeks. Follow-ups with your family physician and physiotherapist are key.

That being said, if the area continues to be hit, there is continuous direct pressure to the area, you have poor training habits, there are muscle imbalances, or it is due to a rheumatoid problem, the problem will likely persist.

How bursitis is diagnosed?

Depending on the location of the bursa and amount of swelling, you may see that it is swollen, red, and warm. The swelling makes it difficult to move the joint and the area around the bursa can be tender to touch. If the bursitis is due to an infection, you may also have a fever. 


Some people ask if they should have an x-ray. Well a bursa will not show up on an x-ray, but it can be useful at times to determine if there are any boney changes, such as a bone spur, that is pressing on the nearby bursa. 

Ultrasound and/or MRI: Can be helpful if the bursitis cannot be easily diagnosed with the physical exam alone.

Lab tests such as blood or analysis from the fluid from inflamed bursa: Can help pinpoint the cause of the inflammation. 

Why is bursitis so painful?

There are 3 main reasons for the pain:

  1. The inflamed bursa cannot cushion the surrounding tissues or allow them to glide freely which can cause pain.
  2. In the inflamed bursa there are chemicals from the swelling that irritate the nerve endings, causing pain. This is like when shampoo irritates the nerve endings in your eyelids.
  3. The pressure of the swelling itself can also cause pain in nearby tissues.

Are bursitis and arthritis the same?

These two conditions are not the same. Broken down, Arthro = relating to joints, and itis – the inflammation of. So, together arthritis is literally defined as the inflammation of the joint. Where Bursa = a fluid- filled sac. So, bursitis is the inflammation of a fluid-filled sac. 

Are bursitis and tendonitis the same?

These two conditions are not the same. As mentioned above, bursitis is the inflammation of the bursa. Where a tendonitis is inflammation of the tendon which connects muscle to bone. Although these two conditions can happen at the same time, and happen from altered movement patterns, they are not directly the same. 

We hope that this answers any questions you have in regards to bursitis. 

If you have any ongoing questions or need treatment for your bursitis, call North 49 today at 306-343-7776. Alternatively, you can book at an appointment your convenience 24/7 online at www.north49therapy.com. 

Let our team of physiotherapists assess your problem, then work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan to address your bursitis and its affects on your daily activities.