Bursae are small sacs of fluid which lubricate and cushion the areas where bone, muscle, and tendons meet. Healthy bursae allow for smooth movement of the joints.

An inflamed bursa will cause a dull pain, with some tenderness and stiffness around the affected area; especially the morning after the physical activity which aggravates it.

It may also swell, making the skin red and warm to the touch. Bursitis is most common in the elbows and knees, but is often found in the shoulders, hips, and feet as well.

The condition is usually instigated by overuse of a particular joint through repetitive actions such as swimming, running, repetitive jumping (as in plyometrics or basketball), gardening or cleaning. Additionally, any instance of direct trauma which causes the bone to impinge the bursa (leading to inflammation and a malalignment of the joint space) can result in a case of bursitis.

If not addressed, this condition will get progressively more serious so it is important to consult a doctor or your physical therapist as soon as possible. Typical treatment consists of a prescription for anti-inflammatory medication, along with rest and physical therapy.

Physical therapy treatment will include activity modification, modalities to reduce inflammation, range of motion exercises to prevent stiffness, and exercises to strengthen the muscles around the joint for better support.