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Classification and external resources

Bursitis of the Elbow
ICD-10 M70.-M71.
ICD-9 727.3
DiseasesDB 31623
MedlinePlus 000419
eMedicine emerg/74
MeSH D002062

Bursitis is the inflammation of one or more bursae (small sacs) of synovial fluid in the body. The bursae rest at the points where internal functionaries, such as muscles and tendons, slide across bone. Healthy bursae create a smooth, almost frictionless functional gliding surface making normal movement painless. When bursitis occurs, however, movement relying upon the inflamed bursa becomes difficult and painful. Moreover, movement of tendons and muscles over the inflamed bursa aggravates its inflammation, perpetuating the problem.



Bursitis is commonly caused by repetitive movement and excessive pressure. Elbows and knees are the most commonly affected. Inflammation of the bursae might also cause other inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Although infrequent, scoliosis might cause bursitis of the shoulders; however, shoulder bursitis is more commonly caused by overuse of the shoulder joint and related muscles.[1]

Traumatic injury is another cause of bursitis. The inflammation irritates because the bursa no longer fits in the original small area between the bone and the functionary muscle or tendon. When the bone increases pressure upon the bursa, bursitis results.


Bursitis symptoms vary from local joint pain and stiffness, to burning pain that surrounds the joint around the inflamed bursa. In this condition, the pain usually is worse during and after activity, and then the bursa and the surrounding joint become stiff the next day in the morning.


The most common examples of this condition are


Bursitis that is not infected can be treated with rest, ice, elevation, anti-inflammatory drugs and pain medication. Since bursitis is caused by increased friction from the adjacent structures, compression is contraindicated because compression would create more friction on movement (passive and active). Advanced massage therapy techniques can also be employed to help with the inflammatory process of bursitis.

Bursitis that is infected requires further investigation and antibiotic therapy. In cases when all conservative treatment fails, surgical therapy may be necessary. In a bursectomy the bursa is cut out either endoscopically or with open surgery. The bursa grows back in place afeter a couple of weeks but without any inflammatory component.


  1. ^ "Shoulder Bursitis".  

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