Since the bursae’s function is to allow for smooth movements of joints, when they are inflamed and swell up, there is extra pressure in the joint.
Bursitis is also related to tendonitis, in that some tendons are located such that they may rub near bursae and the ensuing inflammation affects both the tendon and the bursa.
The shoulder is a common place for this to happen.
Bursae are most commonly injured due to repetitive use, or as a result of rheumatic diseases like gout, or some form of trauma, but can also develop because of infection.
If identified early, most forms of bursitis can be treated and can completely dissipate fairly quickly; if, however, the injuries are not treated, they can become chronic and will then require a great deal more effort to manage.
Symptoms of bursitis include sharp or burning pain in the injured region, both in action and at rest, swelling of the affected area, redness of the skin around the joint, and difficulty moving the joint.
It is important to seek medical attention because if left untreated, some types of bursitis can become infected in a condition called septic bursitis.
This more commonly happens where bursae are close to the skin.
Patients can prevent or minimize the risk for bursitis by maintaining a healthy weight, wearing proper footwear, walking and standing properly, recognizing the symptoms of overuse, and resting when necessary.