Bursitis is a painful inflammation of a small fluid-filled sac called a bursa, which is located under the tendon and serves as it’s protection. The bursa protects the tendon from injury and provides cushioning to prevent friction in its immediate area, such as between ligaments and bones. It can become inflamed from repetitive motion or irritation. The most common areas of bursitis are the shoulders, elbows, and hip. However, it can affect the foot and ankle too. In the foot, the heel and the toes are most often affected.


The most common causes of bursitis are repetitive motions or positions that put pressure on the bursae around a joint.

Examples include:

  • Throwing a baseball or lifting something over your head repeatedly
  • Leaning on your elbows for long periods of time
  • Extensive kneeling for tasks such as laying carpet or scrubbing floors

Other causes include injury or trauma to the affected area, inflammatory arthritis (such as rheumatoid arthritis), gout, and infection.


Symptoms of bursitis include localized redness, swelling, and pain.

Potential Treatments

Treatments may include local ice therapy, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen), and padding or corticosteroid injections to help reduce inflammation and relieve pain. If these nonsurgical treatments fail to provide adequate pain relief, your doctor may discuss surgery.

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