Bursitis can cause pain, tenderness, or stiffness in the affected area. The pain often gets worse with movement. If the inflamed bursa is close to the skin’s surface, the area may swell and appear to be red. It may also feel warm to the touch.
A traumatic injury or an infection can cause sudden swelling and soreness. Gradual swelling is usually a sign of chronic or long-lasting bursitis. Chronic bursitis can lead to muscle deterioration, and may permanently limit the range of motion of the affected joint.
Tendonitis and other conditions cause similar symptoms as bursitis; it may be difficult for a doctor to differentiate among them. There are some differences, however. Generally, bursitis pain is a dull, persistent ache that becomes more intense when the joint is moved. Tendonitis pain, on the other hand, tends to be sharp.
Sometimes bursitis and tendonitis occur in combination. Your doctor will conduct diagnostic tests to determine the precise cause of your joint pain and stiffness.
While bursitis can affect anyone, older people, manual laborers, and athletes are especially susceptible to developing the condition.
Overuse of or injury to a joint can lead to bursitis. If you work in a profession, play a sport, or have a hobby that puts repetitive stress on a joint, you are at greater risk of developing bursitis. Your risk increases even more if you are in poor physical condition or have bad posture.
Injuries such as twisting your ankle or falling on your arm or hip may damage a bursa, thereby increasing your risk for bursitis. The risk is higher if you are over 40, primarily because tissues near joints weaken as you age, making them more susceptible to injury.
Having gout, rheumatoid arthritis, or a staphylococcal infection in a bone or joint increases your risk for bursitis because these illnesses can inflame joints and nearby tissues, including the bursae.
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