What Is Bursitis

· Thomas Hein · Comments Off on What Is Bursitis

Bursitis is the inflammation or irritation of the bursa. A bursa is a fluid filled sac located between tissues such as bone, muscle, tendons, and skin, that decreases rubbing, friction, and irritation.

What Causes Bursitis?

Bursitis is most often caused by repetitive, minor impact on the area. Typically overuse or especially abnormally tight muscles can put excessive wear and tear on the bursa. Bursitis can also come from a sudden, more serious injury. Age can also play a role. As tendons age they are able to tolerate less stress, are less elastic, and are easier to tear.
Overuse or injury to the joint at work or play can also increase a person’s risk of bursitis. Examples of high-risk activities include overhead activities and sports or repetitive activities such as gardening, raking, carpentry, shoveling, painting, scrubbing, tennis, golf, skiing, throwing. Incorrect posture at work or home and poor stretching or conditioning before exercise can also lead to bursitis.

An abnormal or poorly placed bone or joint (such as length differences in your legs or arthritis in a joint) can put added stress on a bursa sac, causing bursitis. Stress or inflammation from other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, psoriatic arthritis, thyroid disorders, or unusual medication reactions may also increase a person’s risk. In addition, an infection can occasionally lead to inflammation of a bursa.

Who Usually Gets Bursitis?

Bursitis is more common in adults, especially in those over 40 years of age.

What Parts of the Body Does Bursitis Affect?

  • Elbow
  • Shoulder
  • Hip
  • Knee
  • Achilles tendon

What Are the Symptoms of Bursitis?

The most common symptom of bursitis is pain. The pain may build up gradually or its onset may be sudden and severe. Severe loss of motion in the shoulder — called “adhesive capsulitis” or frozen shoulder — can also result from the immobility and pain associated with shoulder bursitis.

How Can I Prevent Bursitis?

If you are planning to start exercising, you will be less likely to get bursitis if you gradually build up force and repetitions. Stop what you are doing if unusual pain occurs. Visit your physiotherapist before beginning a new exercise program to be assessed for muscle imbalances or mal-alignments that may contribute to the development of bursitis.

How Is Bursitis Treated?

  • In the acute stage bursitis can be treated with rest and ice and avoid activities that aggravate the problem. Depending on the body part, gentle pain free exercises should be performed. Ask your physiotherapist in Vaughan where to start.
  • Most importantly, PhysioActive will determine all the contributing factors and explain why you developed the bursitis. A specific treatment plan will be prepared for you to relieve your symptoms of bursitis and to prevent it from returning as you return to your activity or sport.If the condition does not improve, your PhysioActive therapist may refer you to see your doctor for specific testing.
    Your doctor can also prescribe drugs to reduce the inflammation. Corticosteroids, also known simply as “steroids,” are often used because they work quickly to decrease the inflammation and pain. Steroids can be injected directly at the site of injury. Injections are often, but not always, effective and can be repeated. However, multiple injections in a several month period are usually avoided due to potential side effects from the injections and the possibility of masking problems that need to be treated differently. PhysioActive is affiliated with the Canadian Centre of Integrative Medicine where our physiotherapists work with specially trained medical doctors to quickly do injections if needed.Surgery, although rarely needed, may be an option when bursitis does not respond to the other treatment options.


Consult your doctor if you have:

    • Fever (over 102 Fahrenheit) — infection is a possibility
    • Swelling, redness, and warmth
    • General illness or multiple sites of pain
    • Inability to move the affected area

These could be signs of another problem that requires more immediate attention.

About Thomas Hein

Thomas Hein is a Physiotherapist, Osteopathic Practitioner and Clinical Director at Physioactive Orthopaedic and Sports Injury Inc., He has extensive post graduate training in manual therapy and works closely with high level athletes and chronic pain and those who want to really know where their pain is coming from, their underlying factors and solutions to live and move optimally. He s commited to patient recovery and optimal performance. Graduating with a Physical Therapy degree from Queen’s University in 1995, Thomas has continuously evolved his expertise through postgraduate education and hands-on experience.

Zach Apter
Zach Apter
I saw Pooria. He was great all 4 sessions and so were the rest of the staff. Got me back to normal in no time! Highly reccomend.
Leonora Buskin
Leonora Buskin
I highly recommend Chiropractor Zachary Starr. Highly professional and his treatment resolved my TMJ for the long-term. He also supported with supplying exercises to carry on the treatment at home in relation to treatment of TMJ and improvement of posture.
Bayla Perelman
Bayla Perelman
After many months of being in pain and countless of doctor’s appointments and tests, no one was able to understand my pain or help me. However, during my first appointment with Thomas he was able to locate and finally ease my pain! Thank you!
Li You
Li You
After finishing treatment from Monica. I have felt that any symptoms of sourness and stiffness in me just disappeared by themselves. During the miracle treatment, I feel her kindness and passion for medical treatment methods. Beyond, those, her combined knowledge of acupuncture and massage is the fact that she is so focused on the results of the treatment that after one or two sessions, I have already gotten the best outcome that I have ever experienced. I would say that she has an angel's fingers. It is an incredible wonder. It is an ancient way that she understands and practices so well to heal your health from the physical body to the eternal soul. I highly recommend this rehabilitation center and Monica to someone who is looking for the best medical treatment from the most caring practitioner.
Inna Kakoian
Inna Kakoian
Highly recommend PhysioActive. Winnie (physiotherapist) helped me a lot following my knee injury (injured ACL & MCL). She is very knowledgeable and one of the areas she specializes in is nerve work all over the body. Words can’t describe how amazing Winnie is at what she does. Originally she did ultrasound massage to reduce inflamation and swelling in my knee. Then she started doing some work with her hands. At the end of each appointment she would put my legs into a magnetic wheel that works at a cellular level and actually helped reduce pain. She also assigned exercises to do at home which helped too. Later I also started seeing Mina (osteopath), and he’s also very talented, knowledgeable and gentle. My foot, even though it wasn’t injured, was having trouble adjusting after many months of inactivity and was achy, so I ordered orthotics to put inside my shoes, which made a huge difference, and this was done through their chiropodist Vincent (the pair of orthotics he ordered for me is perfect). The front desk staff is great too, especially Negin and Armine. If you’re newly injured and lost, please hang in there as it will get better, and this is one great clinic that can help.
Melanie Heilbronn
Melanie Heilbronn
Nicholas Biasini is the man with magic hands. Thanks so much for your exercises and hands on work. Really appreciate the speedy and effective resolution of my neck pain.
Melissa Custoreri
Melissa Custoreri
I have been a client at Physioactive since 2010 and continue to have a wonderful experience. My bookings are always easy and efficient via telephone and in person, through Physioactive’s organized, knowledgeable and friendly staff members. Appointment booking emails and reminders are always provided, as well as follow-up check ins between longer visits. The clinic is clean and organized. Physiotherapists, Nick and Aparna, and Massage Therapist, Shirley, have been critical in my physical healing from injuries and and preparation and recovery postpartum. I constantly leave the clinic AMAZED by their knowledge, ultimate care, and physical relief. I would HIGHLY recommend Physioactive to all!
Sheena Weisman
Sheena Weisman
Amazing clinic, would highly recommend! After a very sudden onset of severe sciatica, Thomas and the physioactive team were increadible. No appointments were available for 5 days, but once Thomas realized the degree of discomfort I was in he made extra appointment time to see me that same day and the next few days. His assessment was thorough and treatment very quickly reduced my nerve pain. He explained in detail the physiology likely causing the problem, and his plan to tackle not only the acute pain but over time to eventually resolve the underlying musculoskeletal problems that were likely causing it. I am increadibly grateful to him and his team and would definitely recommend Physioactive.
Amanda Chan
Amanda Chan
Since my left fibula fracture was cleared for physio, while I was in crutches I have been going to Physioactive since last November. I cannot say anymore good things about this place, each physiotherapist I had seen in the beginning were good at working together to ensure my file was consistently up to date. Fast forward March, I walk now as if I have never sustained a fracture. Highly recommend and lots of exercises that cater to each phase of healing!!
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