Louisville NE 68037 & Plattsmouth NE 68048


August 10, 2021

What is it?

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

Information and causes?

When a bursa sac gets inflamed, it swells and can cause friction in the joints causing pain and more inflammation.

Bursitis can be caused by a variety of factors including:

  • Overuse from vacuuming for hours (for example)
  • Repetitive strain such as lifting heavy boxes at work
  • Trauma from falling on the joint
  • Pressure from leaning on the elbow for instance when working at a desk
  • Infection from an unattended wound
  • Inflammatory disease, such as gout, which could for in the bursa

                Bursitis is typically caused by repetitive friction which can take place due to tight muscles during activity. It often occurs in conjunction with tendonitis. It can also occur after a forced period of rest.

The signs and symptoms?

The signs and symptoms of bursitis can vary based on the location of the bursitis.

With hip bursitis, you may experience:

  • Pain on the outer side of the hip, thigh, buttock, or outside of the leg.
  • Pain when you push on the outer side of the hip with your fingers.
  • Pain when lying on the affected hip.
  • Pain when climbing stairs.
  • Pain that worsens when getting up from sitting, such as from a low chair or car seat.
  • Pain when walking or running.
  • Pain when lifting the leg up to the side.
  • Pain when sitting with legs crossed.

With knee bursitis, you may experience:

  • Swelling on the front of the knee
  • Redness on the front of the knee
  • Pain when you push with your fingers on the front of the knee
  • Pain when kneeling
  • Stiffness in the knee joint, or difficulty straightening or bending the knee

With shoulder bursitis, you may experience:

  • Pain on the outer side or tip of the shoulder
  • Pain when you push with your finger on the tip of the shoulder
  • Pain when lying on the affected shoulder
  • Pain that worsens when lifting the arm to the side
  • Pain when rotating the arm
  • Pain when pushing or pulling open a door

With elbow bursitis, you may experience:

  • Swelling on the tip or back of the elbow
  • Redness on the tip of the elbow
  • Pain when you push with your fingers on the tip of the back of the elbow
  • Pain when leaning on the arm, as when the arm is resting on an armrest or on the edge of a desk or table
  • Stiffness in the elbow joint, and difficulty bending the elbow



For someone with bursitis, it is best to learn more about the disease itself and management to help gain control of your personal health. Physical therapy is one of the main treatments of bursitis. Although it is not a “quick fix”, physical therapy can help you gain control of your physical health and learn how to prevent the bursitis from coming back.

Physical therapy will initially focus on educating the patient about the disease. Research shows that people who are knowledgeable about their condition have better coping abilities. This education can include learning how the body perceives pain and how to take control of the pain. Pain management through various types of exercises such as aerobics, manual therapy, stretching, and deep breathing can help improve overall function, general health and sleep quality in patients with fibromyalgia. Your physical therapist will design a program that is right for you and your goals.


At your first visit you should expect a physical therapist that is there to get to know you, your current complaints, and your goals. Using this information and the information they gather during their evaluation they will set up an individualized treatment plan that will help you reach your goals and get back to your life faster. Treatments could include modalities for pain control, manual therapy to help relieve muscle tension and promote healing, exercises to restore strength and motion, and muscular retraining to improve muscle activation, core activation and stabilization.



Image: https://www.msk.org.au/bursitis/