The bursa is a small, fluid-filled sac with a jelly-like feel that helps protect the bones against surrounding tissues, including muscles and tendons. Bursitis is when a bursa becomes inflamed (swollen and irritated).
Common causes of bursitis include repetitive motion, kneeling or leaning on your elbows for a long time, and being overweight.
Bursitis most commonly affects your knee, elbow, shoulder and hip. But it can also occur in your Achilles tendon and foot.
Signs You Should Get Help for Bursitis
See an orthopedic expert if you notice any of these symptoms:
- Joint pain
- Tenderness when you press around the joint
- Stiffness and aching when you move the joint
- Swelling, warmth or redness over the joint
Symptoms can vary for different joints. For example, with elbow bursitis, you may see a bubble (or sac) sticking out from the elbow. And with hip bursitis, you may at first feel a sharp, shooting pain at the point of your hip that soon becomes an achy, throbbing feeling.
Bursitis Treatment at Rush
If you come to Rush for bursitis care, you may be treated by a primary sports medicine doctor or an orthopedic specialist who specializes in treating the affected joint. Because Rush has every orthopedic specialty, you will receive expert care tailored to your needs.
Nonsurgical Treatments for Bursitis
- Rest, icing and anti-inflammatory pain medicines
- Protective pads or compression sleeves
- Evaluation for any signs of infection
- Draining the extra fluid from the bursa
- Cortisone injection to relieve the inflammation in the bursa
Surgical Treatment for Bursitis
Surgery is not commonly needed to treat most types of bursitis. But if the inflammation doesn’t go away after these initial treatments, you may need surgery to remove the bursa. This allows a new, more normal bursa to develop over time.
As often as possible, surgeons at Rush perform bursitis surgery using small incisions (arthroscopic surgery). But depending on the severity of your bursitis, you may need traditional, open surgery. Your surgeon will discuss your options with you based on your condition, overall health and goals.
Rush Excellence in Bursitis Care
- Nationally recognized care: U.S. News & World Report ranked Rush University Medical Center No. 5 in the nation and best in Illinois for orthopedics.
- Experts you can trust: Our orthopedic experts see hundreds of thousands of patients with joint pain, including bursitis, each year. We draw on our expertise to pinpoint the cause of your pain and ensure you get the right treatment to help you feel better, whether you have bursitis or another issue.
- Convenient care: You can receive the highest quality of comprehensive bursitis care at all of our locations, including imaging tests, in-office treatments, outpatient procedures and physical therapy.