Nonneoplastic disease

Author: Vijay Shankar, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 15 August 2017, last major update December 2012

Copyright: (c) 2002-2017,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Bursitis [title] joints

Cite this page: Shankar, V. Bursitis. website. Accessed July 18th, 2018.
Definition / general
  • Pain, erythema, swelling around bursae that lie between muscles, tendons and bony prominences
  • Usually due to chronic trauma (professional athletes in shoulders, pre and infrapatellar bursae of those who kneel); rheumatoid arthritis
  • Rarely associated with infection, gout
  • Associated with cysts, fluid and loose bodies
  • Chronically inflamed bursa may develop extensive calcification
  • Subdeltoid bursitis: degeneration of muscle / tendon in shoulder rotator cuff, followed by deposition of calcium in necrotic collagenous tissue, which stimulates inflammatory reaction
Clinical features
  • Common sites: shoulder, knee, elbow and hip
  • Infrequent sites: interspinous, ischio gluteal, retrocalcaneal
Case reports
  • Varies based on cause of bursitis and changes in bursa
  • Includes aspiration, antibiotic irrigation, incision and drainage (for abscess), excision (for thickened bursa)
Clinical images

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Gross description
  • Thickened, erythematous and shaggy bursal wall with fibrinous exudates
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Chronic inflammation, scarring

Elbow - Chronic fibrinous bursitis