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Human Body - Central States Orthopedics

Neck Shoulder Elbow Spine Wrist Hip Hand Knee Ankle Foot

Sports Medicine and Wellness


Bursitis is a swelling and soreness (inflammation) of a fluid-filled sac (bursa) that overlies and protects a joint. It can be caused by injury, overuse of the joint, arthritis, or infection. The joints most likely to be affected are the elbows, shoulders, hips and knees.

Home Care Instructions

  • Apply ice to the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes each hour while awake for 2 days. Put the ice in a plastic bag and place a towel between the bag of ice and your skin
  • Rest the injured joint as much as possible, but continue to put the joint through a full range of motion 4 times per day. (The shoulder joint especially becomes rapidly “frozen” if not used). When the pain lessens, begin normal slow movements and usual activities
  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver
  • Your caregiver may drain the bursa and inject medicine. This may speed up the healing process. This is often also used as an initial treatment of choice
  • Follow all instructions for follow-up with your caregiver. This includes and orthopedic referrals, physical therapy, and rehabilitation. Any delay in obtaining necessary care could result in a delay or failure of the bursitis to heal and chronic pain

Seek Immediate Medical Care If

  • Your pain increases even during treatment
  • You develop an oral temperature above 102 F (38.9 C), or as your caregiver suggests, and
    have heat and inflammation over the involved bursa

Make Sure You

  • Understand these instructions
  • Will watch your condition
  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse


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