A bursa (plural: bursae) is a sac containing synovial fluid which nourishes and lubricates the joint. The purpose of a bursa is to cushion and reduce friction between tendons or muscles and the surrounding bone.

In our body, the bursae are located near the tendons of the large joints in the shoulders, elbows, hips and knees. There are about 160 bursae throughout the body.

The inflammation of a bursa is called BURSITIS and can be due to:

  • Injury – either traumatic such as that caused by a direct hit or through repetitive action
  • Infection
  • A predisposition to bursitis due to an underlying rheumatic condition

Once a bursa is inflamed it loses its smooth gliding action and becomes more and more irritated when moved. This causes more inflammation and further thickening of the bursa tissues. Gradually normal movements and activities become painful.

Elbow – also called Olecranon bursitis
Knee – also known as Prepatellar bursitis or ‘housemaids knee’
Hip – also called Trochanteric bursitis