Bursitis treatment
June 10 2016 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Bursitis is inflammation of a bursa caused by repetitive use, trauma, infection, or systemic inflammatory disease. A bursa is a small fluid-filled sac lined by synovial membrane with an inner capillary layer of viscous fluid. It provides a cushion between bones and tendons and/or muscles around a joint.


What Joints are affected?

Bursitis most commonly affects the subacromial, olecranon, trochanteric, prepatellar, and infrapatellar bursae. Symptoms of bursitis may include localized tenderness, edema, erythema, and/or reduced movement.


What is a Bursa?
Bursae are flattened sacs that serve as a protective buffer between bones and overlapping muscles (deep bursae) or between bones and tendons/skin (superficial bursae). These synovial-lined sacs are filled with minimal amounts of fluid to facilitate movement during muscle contraction. Deep bursae, such as the subacromial and iliopsoas bursae, are located in the fascia. Superficial bursae, such as the olecranon and prepatellar bursae, are located in the subcutaneous tissue. Humans have approximately 160 bursae.


Natural treatment
Q. I am looking for a natural supplement that will help bursitis. I typed bursitis in google to find a natural herb but nothing came up.
   A. We are not aware of any specific herb or supplement that has been tested in bursitis. However, reducing inflammation through diet by eating more cold water fish and vegetables or taking anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements such as turmeric, curcumin, or fish oils could perhaps make a difference in the long run.


Medical treatment
Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 2014. Treatment of olecranon bursitis: a systematic review. The optimal management of olecranon bursitis is ill-defined. The purposes of this review were to systematically evaluate clinical outcomes for aseptic versus septic bursitis, compare surgical versus nonsurgical management, and examine the roles of corticosteroid injection and aspiration in aseptic bursitis. Based primarily on level IV evidence, nonsurgical management of olecranon bursitis is significantly more effective and safer than surgical management. The clinical course of aseptic bursitis appears to be more complicated than that of septic bursitis. Corticosteroid injection is associated with significant risks without improving the outcome of aseptic bursitis.