To hear audio pronunciation of this topic, purchase a subscription or log in.

[bursa + -itis]
Inflammation of a bursa, esp. between bony prominences and muscle or tendon, as in the shoulder and knee. It is typically caused by repeated stresses placed on a joint during work or play, but sometimes it is caused by sudden trauma, inflammatory joint disease, or bacteria. Common forms include rotator cuff, miner's or tennis elbow, and prepatellar bursitis. Fluid accumulation in the bursa results in irritation, inflammation, sudden or gradual pain, and symptoms such as impaired joint movement.

Therapy includes rest and immobilization of the affected part during the acute stage. Active mobilization as soon as acute symptoms subside will help to reduce the likelihood of adhesions. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesics, local application of cold then heat, and diathermy are helpful. Fluid removal (aspiration of the bursa) and injection of local anesthetics and cortisone into bursae may be required to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. In chronic bursitis, surgery may be necessary.

Rest is prescribed, and movement of the affected part is restricted during the acute phase if pain and limited range of joint motion are present. If pain and loss of function are severe and do not improve with rest, the patient is referred for medical evaluation; physical therapy may also be needed to maintain joint mobility and prevent neighboring muscle atrophy.

There's more to see -- the rest of this topic is available only to subscribers.