What are the effects?
Whether your irritated and swollen bursa is in your shoulder, elbow, hip or knee, the symptoms generally are similar. You’ll experience pain, tenderness, sometimes swelling and, occasionally some limitation of ability to move the affected joint. It is not always easy to tell the difference between bursitis and tendonitis, which is inflammation of the structures which attach muscle to bones.
Bursitis is named according to the bursa that is affected or the occupation that may have caused it. Most forms of bursitis are mild, and can be chronic, but some can be quite severe and painful. If you experience acute bursitis with swelling and redness or have a fever with it, you should see a doctor right away, since the cause could be infectious.
- Shoulder bursitis (subacromial-subdeltoid bursitis): Bursitis in the shoulder is difficult to distinguish from tendonitis in the shoulder, and both problems usually occur together. You will feel pain and tenderness at the outer side of the shoulder and you will have difficulty raising your arm overhead due to pain. This type of bursitis is often seen in people who do a lot of overhead work or who use a throwing motion (like baseball players).
- Olecranon bursitis: This bursa is located at the tip of the elbow. Bursitis here will result in a swollen, tender knob (sometimes with pain, heat and redness) on the end of the elbow. It can be caused by repetitive low-grade trauma (leaning on the elbows), inflammatory conditions (such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout or CPPD crystal deposition) or infection.
- Trochanteric bursitis: This bursa is located over the prominent bone on the side of your hip and when irritated causes pain and aching in the hip and on the outside of the thigh. The pain will be worse while walking and while lying on the affected side. It occurs mainly in middle-aged to elderly people, and somewhat more often in women than in men. It often occurs in people who have one leg somewhat shorter or stiffer than the other, or osteoarthritis of the hip, lower spine or knee.
- Iliopsoas bursitis: This is a deep bursa thatis located at the front of the hip. When irritated, it causes pain in the groin and front of the thigh. If the bursa becomes quite swollen, pressure on structures near the bursa can result in leg swelling, thigh muscle weakness and restricted blood flow to the leg. Iliopsoas bursitis can be due to repetitive trauma and overuse or can be due to rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis of the hip.
- Ischial bursitis (weaver’s bottom, tailor’s seat): This bursa is located below the “sitting” bone in your buttock called the ischium. Pain in the buttock can be exquisite when sitting or lying down and can radiate down the back of the thigh. It is caused by an injury or by prolonged sitting on hard surfaces.
- Anserine bursitis: This bursa is located just below the knee on the inner part of the leg. Bursitis here produces pain and tenderness on the inside portion of the knee that is usually at its worst when climbing stairs. It is most common in overweight, older women with osteoarthritis of the knees or in people with knock-knees. Runners may also develop anserine bursitis from overuse or poor training techniques.
- Prepatellar bursitis (housemaid’s knee): This bursa is located beneath the skin in front of the kneecap. Swelling over the kneecap is the main symptom. Pain usually is mild unless you press directly on the swollen part. It usually is caused by an injury or repetitive low-grade trauma, such as kneeling. If there is redness, heat and increased pain, the bursitis may be caused by a bacterial infection or gout.
- Infrapatellar bursitis (clergyman’s knee): This condition is similar to prepatellar bursitis, except that the bursa is located just below the kneecap.
- Retrocalcaneal bursitis: This bursa is located between the heel bone and the Achilles tendon. Irritation and inflammation of this bursa result in pain, tenderness and swelling at the back of the heel. It may result from poorly fitting shoes, overuse (as in runners), or from various forms of arthritis (such as rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis or gout).
- Retroachilles bursitis (pump bump bursitis): This bursa is located between the skin and the Achilles tendon. Irritation of this bursa results in pain, tenderness and swelling at the back of the heel. It usually is caused by shoes that rub against the bursa.