top of page
  • Writer's pictureRobin R Varghese, PT.

Bursting with Bursitis? If you are in pain due to an irritated bursa, we are here to help you!

Bursitis is the inflammation of a bursa, a small fluid filled sac that sits between muscles, tendons and bones to reduce friction. It is very common in shoulder, knee, elbow and hip.

A Bursa appears at a junction of a tendon on the bone. A bursa is filled with a thin layer of synovial fluid. It protects and brakes the shocks of the joint. The structures nearby the bursa can move with minimal friction due to irritation. They have different measures and are mostly flattened.

What exactly happens?

When a Bursa gets inflamed, it swells, develops friction and starts irritating the muscle tendon it is supposed to protect. This way the bursa and muscle tendon get more and more irritated. These issues lead to bursitis and tendinitis.

What are the causes?

Overuse of the joint

Repetitive strain



Bacterial infection or septic bursitis. Other inflammatory diseases

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms are seen depending on the location of the bursa. There will be:

  • Pain

  • Discomfort

  • Visible and/or palpable swelling.


  • Chronic bursitis is treated by Rest, Ice and anti-inflammatory medications. Use of steroids must be under the guidance of your doctor. (Note: Resting the affected joint does not mean immobilizing it)

  • Infected bursitis requires immediate evaluation by the doctor. Aspirating the bursa may an option to reduce its size and for biopsy. Antibiotics are needed to kill bacteria. Ice, rest, and anti-inflammatory medications can improve swelling and inflammation.

  • Traumatic bursitis is normally treated by aspirating the bursa. Icing and NSAIDs (anti-inflammatory medications) help to reduce swelling

Surgical measures

Surgical removal of the bursa is recommended in case of tuberculous bursitis

Surgical incision and drainage are recommended in case of:

  • Failure of adequately aspirating by needle

  • Bursa site inaccessible to multiple needle aspirations

  • Forming of abscess or necrosis

Physical Therapy Management in the acute phase include:

  • Rest from all activity

  • RICE regime to reduce inflammation and treat pain

  • Codman’s pendulum exercises and AAROM exercises to keep the joint in motion, prevent stiffness and speed recovery

  • Taping of the shoulder for pain relief and improved function

The aim of the therapy:

1) Reduce the symptoms 2) Minimize damage 3) Maintain Rotator motion and strength

Once the pain starts to diminish, the physiotherapist will prescribe an individualized strengthening and stretching exercise program. Chronic bursitis treatment should include: correction of postural abnormalities if any, along with mobility exercises and strengthening exercises. strength and restoring optimal length of the muscles will improving the alignment of the joint and prevent excessive compression of the bursa.

What should be avoided?

Pay good attention to the aggravating factors and avoid them so that there is no irritation on the affected bursa.

Avoid extra pressure on the area. For example, if you have shoulder bursitis avoid sleeping on it or putting weight through your arms when sitting (i.e., leaning heavily on your arm rest).

If you are having bursitis or if you doubt one; and if you are finding it tough to beat the cycle of pain, we encourage you to find a qualified and trusted Physiotherapist. It would be our pleasure to help you as we provide the best Physical Therapy at Valley Healing Hands, Brownsville, Texas for all kinds of Bursitis.

17 views0 comments


bottom of page