What Is Bursitis?

Bursa are small, fluid filled sacs that help provide cushion and reduce friction between soft tissue and bones. Bursitis occurs when bursa become inflamed or irritated. Bursitis is common to the hip, shoulder, elbow and knee joint. It can be caused by an injury or in most cases it’s the result of joint overuse or repeated pressure.


An orthopedic doctor can usually diagnose bursitis by conducting a physical exam and reviewing a patients medical history. Additional imaging test may be ordered if bursitis can’t be easily diagnosed and to exclude other conditions that may be causing symptoms common to bursitis. Fluid from an inflamed bursa may be also analyzed to locate the cause of joint pain. Blood test may also be ordered.

Bursitis Symptoms

An orthopedic doctor can usually diagnose bursitis by conducting a physical exam and reviewing a Bursitis may cause pain, swelling and stiffness near a joint. It can occur suddenly, lasting for a few days or longer. A doctor should be consulted immediately if joint pain is disabling, swelling or redness is excessive, or if a fever is also present.

Treating Bursitis

In most cases, pain caused by bursitis will go away with proper treatment. Common conservative treatments for bursitis include:

  • Activity Modification
  • Anti-Inflammatory Medication
  • Antibiotics
  • Brace, Splint or Cane

Surgery For Bursitis

Surgery may be recommended if a patient isn’t able to treat pain caused by bursitis using non-operative treatment methods. A doctor may surgically drain excess bursa fluid.

If a bursa is damaged, the sac may need to be surgically removed but the need for this procedure is rare.

Orthopedic Doctors at The CMD

If you have been experiencing joint pain, stiffness or swelling for more than a few days, it may be in your best interest to schedule an appointment with a doctor. The Center For Musculoskeletal Disorders provide a broad range of Orthopedic Services in NY and NJ.

Our pain management specialist can evaluate your condition and guide you to the best methods of treatment.