What Is Bursitis? Bursitis is swelling and irritation of a bursa. A bursa is a saclike structure that cushions joints. Bursitis (ber-SYE-tiss) usually happens in a shoulder, elbow, hip, or knee. But it can happen in other joints too. What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Bursitis? Signs and symptoms of bursitis can include: joint pain joint stiffness joint swelling redness around the area of the joint Symptoms can vary depending on which joint is involved, what caused the irritation, and how long the person has had bursitis. What Causes Bursitis? Bursitis can happen from: overuse (doing the same motion over and over again, such as pitching) injury arthritis (for example, from rheumatoid arthritis) infection In teens, the most common cause of bursitis is overuse. How Is Bursitis Diagnosed? Doctors diagnose bursitis by: asking questions about symptoms and activities doing an exam If doctors need more information or to check other injuries, they also might: get an ultrasound, MRI, or X-ray use a needle to take out some fluid from the bursa and send it for testing How Is Bursitis Treated? Treatment depends on the cause. For bursitis caused by overuse, treatment includes: rest pain relief with ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, or store brand) or naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve, or store brand) protecting the area with pads (for example, knee pads for kneeling or a cushion for sitting on a chair) avoiding positions and activities that press on the area (for example, cutting a slit in the heel of shoes to prevent pressure on the heel) applying ice wrapped in a towel or a heating pad for about 15 minutes a few times a day (whichever gives more comfort) exercises, stretches, or physical therapy (PT) injection of medicine into the bursa Can Bursitis Be Prevented? To lower the risk of bursitis: Play different sports to prevent doing the same motions all year. Use knee pads or a seat cushion when kneeling or sitting for a long time. Use proper technique for sports. Always warm up and stretch before and after sports. Stop activities that cause pain and get checked by a doctor or trainer before going back to the activity. Back to Articles Related Articles Repetitive Stress Injuries in Sports Repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) happen when movements are repeated over and over, damaging a bone, tendon, or joint. Read More Overuse Injuries Overuse (or repetitive stress) injuries happen when too much stress is placed on a part of the body, causing problems like swelling, pain, muscle strain, and tissue damage. Read More Sports and Exercise Safety Playing hard doesn't have to mean getting hurt. The best way to ensure a long and injury-free athletic career is to play it safe from the start. Find out how. Read More Knee Injuries Healthy knees are needed for many activities and sports and getting hurt can mean some time sitting on the sidelines. Read More Osgood-Schlatter Disease Osgood-Schlatter disease (OSD) is an overuse injury that can cause knee pain in teens, especially during growth spurts. Learn more. Read More Bones, Muscles, and Joints Our bones, muscles, and joints form our musculoskeletal system and enable us to do everyday physical activities. Read More Safety Tips: Basketball It's fun to play and great exercise, but basketball is also a contact sport, and injuries happen. To stay safe on the basketball court, follow these safety tips. Read More Safety Tips: Tennis Injuries in tennis are rare, but it's good to be aware before you play. To minimize your risk of injury while playing tennis, follow these safety tips. Read More Proximal Biceps Tendonitis In teens, biceps tendonitis is usually an overuse injury that causes tendons in the upper arm to be swollen or irritated. Most cases heal on their own if you follow a few guidelines from your doctor. Read More 5 Ways to Deal With Anxiety We all get worried or nervous about things. Here are 5 ways to control anxiety. Read More Physical Therapy Physical therapy helps people get back to full strength and movement - and manage pain - in key parts of the body after an illness or injury. Read More Achilles Tendonitis If the tendon just above your heel becomes swollen or irritated due to overuse, it can lead to a painful condition called Achilles tendonitis. Find out how to treat it - and prevent it. Read More Dealing With Sports Injuries You practiced hard and made sure you wore protective gear, but you still got hurt. Read this article to find out how to take care of sports injuries - and how to avoid getting them. Read More Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.