Bursa are small fluid filled sacs found all over the body, most commonly located around joints. The reduce friction and provide cushion around ligaments, tendons, and bony prominences.  A direct blow to these bursa may cause it to erupt or to develop further inflammation which causes the area to swell. Bursitis is most commonly found in the knee, elbow, and shoulder joint.

A direct blow, fall, or other trauma to the bursa can cause them to erupt or become inflamed.  Overuse/excess friction can also irritate a bursa.

– Trauma. 

– Overuse/repetitive movement.

– Pain and swelling in the affected area.

– Stiffness.

– Loss of range of motion.

– Swelling/redness in the area.

At Home Diagnostic Tests

– None — see symptoms checklist.

At Home Care

– Avoid irritating movements.  

– Do not learn weight on painful bursa (especially elbow). 

– Ice on/off for 20 mins.

– Light compression. 

– Elevation.

When to Seek Help

If your inflamed bursa is very swollen, red, and/or causing systemic symptoms (fever, general unwell feeling), see a physician to rule out an infected bursa.  If your symptoms are chronic, are mild/moderate in nature, and do not include the above red flags, see your physical therapist as soon as possible.

Inspired Athletx Treatment

Initial treatment for bursitis at Inspired Athletx will focus on reducing pain and swelling through a combination or manual therapy, compression, and activity modification. As symptoms abate, your physical therapist will address contributing factors, including muscle stiffness, inefficient movement patterns or postures, and muscle weakness.