Bursitis is a painful condition that affects the small, fluid-filled sacs called bursae that cushion the bones, tendons and muscles near your joints. Bursitis occurs when bursae become inflamed.

The most common locations for bursitis are in the shoulder, elbow and hip. But you can also have bursitis by your knee, heel and the base of your big toe. Bursitis often occurs near joints that perform frequent repetitive motion.

Causes of Bursitis

Repetitive motions, such as a pitcher throwing a baseball over and over, commonly cause bursitis. Also, spending time in positions that put pressure on part of your body, such as kneeling, can cause a flare-up. Occasionally, a sudden injury or infection can cause bursitis.

Activities that can lead to bursitis include:

  • Carpentry.
  • Gardening and raking.
  • Painting.
  • Poor posture or a poorly positioned joint or bone (due to different leg lengths, bone spurs, or arthritis in a joint).
  • Scrubbing.
  • Shoveling.
  • Sports like tennis, golf and baseball.

Symptoms of Bursitis

Around muscles, bones and particularly joints, you may notice:

  • Pain, especially during movement.
  • Limited range of motion.
  • Swelling.
  • Redness, warmth, fever and chills, if you have an infection.


Bursitis is generally detected as a tender, warm swelling at the site of a bursa. A diagnosis may include investigating and ruling out any other possible causes.

Tests performed to confirm or rule out bursitis may include:

  • Physical examination
  • Medical history
  • X-rays, to rule out the possibility of any other condition
  • Ultrasound
  • Taking fluid from the bursa to rule out the possibility of infection.


Treatment will depend on the cause of the bursitis, and aims to relieve your symptoms as much as possible while the healing process takes place.

Treatment options may include pain-relieving medications, cold packs, gentle mobilizing exercises and rest. Anti-inflammatory medications or injections of corticosteroids may be used in cases of severe pain at Westminster Ortho Med Clinic, DHCC, Dubai.

If infection is present, as well as pain and swelling of the affected area, you may develop other symptoms, such as a raised temperature. Treatment with an appropriate antibiotic is necessary to treat the infection.

If the bursitis was triggered by a particular form of overuse, it‘s important to avoid that activity, or modify how you perform that activity. An occupational therapist can help you find solutions to this problem. Correct posture and joint protection are useful, and braces or splints can decrease the stress on the areas and support good alignment.

What can you do at home for pain relief

Self-care measures at home can often help relieve pain until you’re fully recovered. You can:

  • Elevate the injured area.
  • Ice the area if sudden injury (not repetitive motion) caused the pain.
  • Apply heat to ongoing pain.
  • Use a splint, sling or brace to keep the injured area from moving.
  • Take over-the-counter medications to relieve pain and swelling, such as ibuprofen or naproxen.

Long-term Management

Your doctor, Dr. Ishrat Azam Khan, Dr. Tarek Sultan physiotherapist, Hadel Radwan, Anil Daniel can offer suggestions and strategies to reduce your risk of developing bursitis again.

To prevent work-related bursitis:

  • Use ergonomically-designed furniture and equipment
  • Take regular breaks
  • Do simple stretching exercises regularly throughout your day
  • Keep benches at waist height so that your shoulders can relax.

To prevent sport-related bursitis:

  • Warm up thoroughly by stretching and gently going through the motions of your sport
  • Make sure you use the correct technique and regularly practice strengthening and conditioning exercises that complement your particular sport
  • Cool down thoroughly with gentle stretches
  • Make sure your footwear and equipment are appropriate for you.


While not all types of bursitis can be prevented, you can reduce your risk and the severity of flare-ups by changing the way you do certain tasks. Examples include:

  • Using kneeling pads. Use some type of padding to reduce the pressure on your knees if your job or hobby requires a lot of kneeling.
  • Lifting properly. Bend your knees when you lift. Failing to do so puts extra stress on the bursae in your hips.
  • Wheeling heavy loads. Carrying heavy loads puts stress on the bursae in your shoulders. Use a dolly or a wheeled cart instead.
  • Taking frequent breaks. Alternate repetitive tasks with rest or other activities.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight. Being overweight places more stress on your joints.
  • Exercising. Strengthening your muscles can help protect your affected joint.
  • Warming up and stretching before strenuous activities to protect your joints from injury.

Bursitis is usually short-lived, lasting a few hours to a few days. If you don’t rest, it can make your recovery longer. When you have chronic bursitis, painful episodes last several days to weeks. Follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations to prevent recurring episodes.

Should you require additional information or would like to make an appointment with our Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Ishrat Khan , Pain Consultant Dr. Tarek Sultan OR Physical Therapists,  Anil Daniel,  OR Hadel Radwan  please call us or e-mail us at info@westminsterclinic.ae


  • oxfordhealth.nhs.uk
  • clevelandclinic.org
  • yourphysio.org.uk
  • Mayoclinic.org
  • msk.org.au – Musculoskeletal Australia

Disclaimer: All contents on this site are for general information and in no circumstances information be substituted for professional advice from the relevant healthcare professional, Writer does not take responsibility of any damage done by the misuse or use of the information.