Learn How to Treat Bursitis

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Bursae are little pads filled with fluid that function as cushions for bones, tendons and muscles near joints. Bursitis is the name for the condition in which one or more bursa is inflamed.

How to treat bursitis is typically the same for all locations, though the location of the inflammation may cause some alterations to be necessary. Typically, bursitis appears in the hips, shoulders and elbow, though it can also appear in the knees and heels. Any joint that is used in repetitive motion can be affected.

Repetitive Motion

Avoiding or limiting repetitive motion in the areas affected by bursitis can not only help alleviate symptoms, but it can help reduce the risk for recurrence.

Bursitis can occur more easily with age and certain activities involving repetitive motion can exacerbate the situation. These activities include painting, gardening, shoveling, golf and tennis. Learning new ways to perform certain functions or simply limiting the amount of time spent on these activities can provide some help for the bursitis patient.


Resting the affected area can mean completely immobilizing it or just reducing the activities that involved repetitive motion. Rest will allow the affected area to heal, so following the doctors specifications is crucial to pain relief and healing.


Pain is present with bursitis and can last for multiple weeks following a bout with bursitis. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication may be recommended to help reduce the inflammation and pain experienced by the patient. These include medications containing ibuprofen and naproxen.


Ice packs can be used to help relieve the pain of bursitis. In lieu of an ice pack, anything similar in coldness and shape can work, such as a bag of frozen peas.


If the inflammation is bad, the doctor may prescribe a prescription anti-inflammatory in the form of a corticosteroid injection. According to WebMD, “30% of people may not get complete relief from one injection.”

If the bursitis is recurrent, this option may not be used or may not be used regularly as it is only safe to administer corticosteroid injections once every four months or so.

Physical Therapy and Exercise

Physical therapy and/or special exercises may be prescribed for the bursitis patient. These can help with range-of-motion for ‘frozen shoulder’ and others with troubling bursitis motion issues.


Though not as common, surgery is an option some bursitis patients must use to find some relief.


How to treat bursitis is usually a simple matter, though it may not always alleviate all of the pain or discomfort involved. Carefully following the doctor’s instructions can help speed recovery, though it is not uncommon for patients to experience flare-ups on an ongoing basis.


Arthritis and Bursitis. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/guide/arthritis-bursitis

Bursitis. Mayo Clinic Staff. September 26, 2009. https://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bursitis/DS00032