A bursa is a small fluid-filled sac that is found between skin, muscles, tendons, and bones. It acts as a cushion in decreasing the friction, rubbing and irritation between these parts with movement. Bursitis refers to the inflammation or swelling of the bursa. It can affect the joints such as the hip, knee, elbow, shoulder, and ankle. Bursitis is most commonly seen in adults over 40 years of age.
Bursitis is often caused by frequent, repetitive impact on joints. Overuse or injury to the joint can make a person more susceptible. Examples of high-risk activities include gardening, raking, carpentry, shoveling, painting, scrubbing, tennis, golf, skiing, throwing, and pitching. Poor posture or inadequate stretching before exercise can also lead to bursitis.
People who are older are at a higher risk for bursitis. As tendons age, they cannot tolerate as much stress, lose elasticity, and are easier to tear.
The most common symptom is pain. The pain can increase progressively or suddenly and severely. Significant loss of motion in the shoulder, “adhesive capsulitis” or frozen shoulder, can also be a result from the pain and immobility.
These symptoms could be an indication of a more severe problem that requires medical attention.