Bursitis :: Nationwide Children's Hospital


What is bursitis?

  • A bursa is a fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion between tendons, ligaments, bones, and skin. Bursae help to decrease friction between these structures.
  • Bursitis is swelling or irritation of a bursa.
  • Bursitis most often happens in the shoulders, knees, elbows, and hips.

What causes bursitis?

  • A bursa can become swollen or irritated when muscles or tendons become tight and increase the pressure over the bursa.
  • Falling directly on the location of a bursa can also cause a bursa to become irritated.
  • Sometimes, infections can cause bursitis.
  • Doing the same motion over and over again (like throwing) can cause bursitis.

What are the symptoms?

  • Pain with movement or activity over the affected site.
  • Localized swelling.
  • Warm or hot skin over the affected area.
  • Redness around the affected area (this should be evaluated by a medical professional immediately).

What can I do to feel better?

  • Rest. Do not do things that cause pain.
  • Ice for 15-20 minutes at a time will help decrease swelling and pain.
  • Compression can be helpful to decrease swelling and pain.

When should I see a medical professional?

  • Redness or red streaks around the affected area should be evaluated immediately.
  • If a fever develops or the condition worsens.
  • If rest, ice, and compression are not improving the condition.
  • If you are uncertain about the severity of the condition.

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Free Parent's Guide to Knee Injuries

Nationwide Children's Hospital
700 Children's Drive Columbus, Ohio 43205 614.722.2000