A bursa is a closed fluid-filled sac that functions as a gliding surface to reduce friction between tissues of the body. "Bursae" is the plural form of "bursa." The major bursae are located adjacent to the tendons near the large joints, such as the shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees. When the bursa becomes inflamed, the condition is known to as "bursitis." Most commonly, this is a noninfectious condition (aseptic bursitis) caused by inflammation resulting from local soft tissue trauma or strain injury. On rare occasions, the hip bursa can become infected with bacteria. This condition is called septic bursitis. Although uncommon, the hip bursa can become inflamed by crystals that deposit there from gout or pseudogout.
Where Does Bursitis Occur?
Here are some of the areas in which teens most commonly get bursitis:
- Elbow. Because the elbow is an essential part of many activities, like throwing a ball or swinging a tennis racket, elbow bursitis is one of the most common types of bursitis in teens.
- Knee. Bursitis in the knee can be the result of falling directly on the knee or any activity that requires long periods of kneeling.
- Hip. Bursitis of the hip is often associated with running injuries.
- Shoulder. Bursitis of the shoulder can be the result of something as simple as an awkward fall or as complicated as a rotator cuff injury (the rotator cuff keeps the shoulder secure).
- Ankle. Someone who goes overboard jumping, running, or walking can get ankle bursitis. Just wearing the wrong type of shoes for a particular activity can lead to ankle bursitis.
A bursa can become inflamed from injury, infection (rare in the shoulder), or due to an underlying rheumatic condition. Examples of bursitis include injury as subtle as lifting a bag of groceries into the car to inflame the shoulder bursa (shoulder bursitis), infection of the bursa in front of the knee from a knee scraping on asphalt (septic prepatellar bursitis), and inflammation of the elbow bursa from gout crystals (gouty olecranon bursitis).
Symptoms of Bursitis:
Bursitis can cause a number of different symptoms:
- Pain and sensitivity in or around a joint. This is the most common and obvious sign that a person may have bursitis.
- Difficulty moving the affected joint. This happens because the bursa has swollen and made it tough to move the joint properly.
- Reddening of the skin. The inflamed bursa may cause the skin around the joint to change color.
- Burning. The irritated bursa can cause the skin to sting and feel warmer than usual.