What are the Most Common Treatments for Bursitis?

Article Details
  • Written By: Alex Paul
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 11 September 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article

Some of the most common treatments for bursitis include resting the affected area and reducing swelling through the use of ice and anti-inflammatory drugs. If conservative treatment fails to work, injecting cortisone directly into the bursa can be very effective at reducing pain. Once the initial pain has subsided, physiotherapy to strengthen muscles supporting the joint is important to prevent a recurrence. Stretching can also help to reduce pressure on the area.

Treatments for bursitis depend on where the injury has occurred, although rest is always important. This doesn’t have to be total rest, however, just a reduction in any activity that causes pain. Protecting the area around the bursa can also help to reduce healing time. In some cases, the patient may benefit from immobilizing the joint, although this can lead to additional problems such as muscle atrophy. For this reason, a healthcare professional should always be consulted before attempting any self-treatment program.

Bursitis is caused by swelling in one of the many bursas, which are small sacks of fluid found in joints. Reducing swelling is a primary part of bursitis treatment because this will lower pain levels and allow the area to heal. Some treatments for bursitis which are effective at reducing swelling include icing the injured area and taking anti-inflammatory medication. Ice should never be placed directly onto the skin, however, and should be applied for around 20 minutes several times a day.


A cortisone injection is one of the most effective treatments for bursitis if less invasive treatments have failed. Cortisone is a steroid and a strong anti-inflammatory drug. When injected directly into the bursa, it can quickly reduce inflammation and pain. If this is followed be a period of rehabilitation, it can be a permanent solution. The downside is that cortisone injections can sometimes cause a weakening of surrounding tissue, which may result in an increased chance of future injury; this is seldom an issue with a single injection by a trained medical professional, however.

Once the initial swelling has gone down, it’s important for the patient to undergo preventative treatments for bursitis. This will minimize the chance of the injury occurring again in the future. Muscles around the injured area typically will either be too tight or weak. A physiotherapist can help the patient by providing an exercise program including stretches to reduce pressure over the bursa. It’s essential, however, that exercise isn’t resumed until the pain has disappeared completely. Doing otherwise might prolong the healing process.



Discuss this Article

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?