Bursitis is often a result of overuse and can be caused by a change in activity level, such as training for a marathon or by being overweight.
It can also be caused by trauma, rheumatoid arthritis, gout or infection. Sometimes the cause cannot be found.
Bursitis commonly occurs in the shoulder, knee, elbow and hip. Other areas that may be affected include the Achilles tendon and the foot.
Symptoms of bursitis may include any of the following:
- Joint pain and tenderness when you press around the joint
- Stiffness and aching when you move the affected joint
- Swelling, warmth or redness over the joint
- Pain during movement and rest
- Pain may spread to the nearby areas
Your health care provider will ask about your medical history and perform a physical exam.
Tests that may be ordered include:
- Removing fluid from the bursa
- Culture of the fluid
For bursitis around the hips, knees, or ankle:
- Try not to stand for long periods.
- Stand on a soft, cushioned surface, with equal weight on each leg.
- Placing a pillow between your knees when lying on your side can help decrease pain.
- Flat shoes that are cushioned and comfortable often help.
- If you are overweight, losing weight may also be helpful.
You should avoid activities that involve repetitive movements of any body part when possible.
Other treatments include:
- Medicines such as NSAIDs
- Physical therapy
- Exercises you do at home to build strength and keep the joint mobile as pain goes away
- Removing fluid from the bursa and getting a shot of corticosteroid
As the pain goes away, your provider may suggest exercises to build strength and keep movement in the painful area.