Do you suffer from Bursitis? Whether in your Shoulder, Knee, Elbow, Heel or Hip, this condition can be debilitating.

But please understand it is also very treatable!  There are many options to treat Bursitis symptoms, but also to find the cause and help prevent recurrences in the future.

Read more about Bursitis and how Physio can help!


Bursitis is the inflammation of a Bursa.  

A bursa can be described as a bag of lubricant that provides a smooth interface between 2 moving structures in the body like a tendon and a bone.  

There are more than 150 bursae throughout your body that aim to reduce friction where your muscles and tendons glide over bones.  When inflammation occurs during active bursitis, however, the movement becomes painful due to the increased size of the swollen bursa and increased friction.


  • Bursitis of the Shoulder  (Subacromial Bursitis)
  • Bursitis of the Hip  (Trochanteric Bursitis)
  • Bursitis of the Knee  (Patella Bursitis)
  • Bursitis of the Elbow (Olecranon Bursitis)
  • Bursitis of the Heel (Retrocalcaneal Bursitis)


There are several common causes of bursitis which include – 

  • Repetitive bursa irritation –
    Bursitis is commonly caused from repetitive movement or from prolonged excessive pressure.  Shoulder bursitis (Subacromial bursitis) is usually caused by overhead activities at sport or work and is more prevalent in poor posture.  Hip bursitis (Trochanteric bursitis) can be caused by the weak hip/gluteal muscles.
  • Traumatic injury –
    You may develop bursitis following a trauma (car accident or fall).  Often the acute compression of your bursa causes an inflammatory healing reaction resulting in swelling and bursitis.  A fall on your knee can compress your prepatellar bursa causing knee bursitis. 
  • Systemic disease –
    Systemic inflammatory conditions like Rheumatoid Arthritis can make you more susceptible to developing bursitis.


Treatment phases include – 

  • Reduce acute bursitis pain
  • Reduce bursa inflammation
  • Find the cause and rectify the reason that could predispose patient to bursitis
  • Prevent recurrence with a rehabilitation program

Treatment options to reduce bursa pain and inflammation include –

  • Ice
  • Anti-inflammatory Medications
  • Anti-inflammatory Gels
  • Corticosteroid/Anaesthetic injections.
  • Electrotherapy
  • Deloading taping (e.g. kinesio taping)
  • Avoid activities that reproduce your pain.


Bursitis is very often a secondary symptom caused by other factors.  

Bursitis pain can settle well within a few weeks with the appropriate treatment, however all non-traumatic bursitis should be thoroughly investigated to find the cause.  

Persistent flare ups are common and very frustrating, however once you find why your bursa is inflamed, it is much easier to control your bursitis in future.

Any of the 150 bursae in your body, can be susceptible to repetitive trauma due to poor muscle control of movement patterns. It may be your poor biomechanics, muscle weakness, tightness or posture.  

You can identify and correct these movement patterns however, by seeing a professional physiotherapist.  For those suffering longstanding or repeat episodes of bursitis it is crucial to seek a professional opinion.  

After your initial assessment, your physiotherapist will aim to get you out of pain initially and then provide a rehabilitation program which may include stretching, strengthening, movement correction/control exercises.


It is extremely important to fully assess your Bursitis to determine whether the cause is disease-related.  In this case, please consult your doctor who may refer you for blood tests to rule out any systemic cause of your bursitis. 

Chronic sufferers may also find corticosteroid injections beneficial, however there are some potential side effects, so it is important to speak to your doctor and physiotherapist.


The SPHC team includes a range of Physiotherapists that are passionate about Bursitis assessment, treatment and management. Please call the clinic on 38691099 or book online.