Bursitis

The different types of bursitis that a person may suffer from include Infrapatellar bursitis (housemaid's knee) and Trochantric bursitis (hip pain).

Bursitis defines is inflammation of the bursa sac, which supports our body's joints. The bursa is a smack, fluid-filled sac between a tendon and a bone that provides cushioning and reduced friction. When a joint is overused, the bursas may become irritated and inflamed. This condition may occur in any joint which contains this type of joint tissue, though it is most common in the elbows and shoulders.

Anatomy of the Bursa: The Bursa (plural bursae) is a fluid filled structure, with a synovial membrane which encloses a slimy fluid substance. This synovial lined sac is designed to provide a cushion between bones and tendons and/or muscles around a joint. This bursa may become inflamed due to infection, inflammatory disease, trauma (accident), and due to repetitive strain injury (RSI). When the bursa of a joint are healthy, they provide both a cushion for joints, and make it easier for bones, muscles, and soft tissues to contact and glide against one another without causing friction and degeneration. Treatments for this condition include medications and other therapies to reduce the inflammation and lifestyle modifications that prevent the types of movements that caused the symptoms of the conditions.

Signs and Symptoms: If the bursa has becomes inflamed, due to a medical condition or overuse injury, a person may feel pain and stiffness around the supported joint. The joint may feel hot or red to the touch. Workouts or other activities that require heavy use of that joint may cause the joint to feel worse during and after that activity. Exercise of that joint may cause increased pain and stiffness in that joint the next morning and the next day. The affected joint may appear red and swollen, and hurt more when touching it.

This condition may improve on its own without treatment. However, you should see a doctor for this condition if you experience one or more of these symptoms:
  • A fever
  • Disabling pain or stiffness
  • Pain lasting for two weeks or longer
  • A clearly visible rash in the affected area, or excessive redness or swelling
  • A shooting or sharp pain in the affected area, especially upon increased exertion or vigorous exercise
Cause: Though infection or disease may be the cause of the condition, the most common causes involve repetitive movements that are frequent enough to overtax the joint or those done with improper body mechanics. Specific cases of bursitis may include:
  • Olecranon bursitis (student's elbow): Elbow pain and swelling may occur in some people who spend a lot of time leaning on their elbows.
  • Subacromial bursitis (Shoulder pain): The repetitive motions or throwing a baseball and lifting objects over the head may irritate the bursa in the shoulder joint.
  • Trochantric bursitis (hip pain): Prolonged sitting, especially on hard surface may cause irritation of the bursa of the hip joint.
  • Infrapatellar bursitis (housemaid's knee) Occupational work requirements that require people to do extensive kneeling, such as cleaning floors or installing hardwood flooring may result in the inflammation in the bursa of the knee joint.


Infection: some bursae are particularly vulnerable to infection, due to their proximity to the body's surface, such as those in the elbow and knee. Septic bursitis refers to inflammation of the bursae related to infection.

Increased Risk: There are several medical and lifestyle factors that affect how much of a risk a patient will have of suffering from bursitis:
  • Age: A person becomes more susceptible to this condition as they get older.
  • Sports, Occupational requirements, and hobbies: Any repetitive movements that involving putting a lot of weight or stress on the joints may increase risk. Examples include playing a musical instrument, painting, yard work, laying of tile, laying of carpeting.
  • Medical Factors: People who are at an increased risk include those who have medical conditions such as diabetes, gout, and rheumatoid arthritis.