Bursitis refers to a condition which involves the swelling and inflammation of a bursa. The bursae are the fluid-filled sacs which can form under the skin, typically over joints, and act as cushions between bones and tendons. The primary symptoms of this problem include swelling, tenderness, and pain within the affected area. Almost any bursa in the body can become inflamed, but this issue occurs most commonly in the elbow, shoulder, hip, and knees.

Understanding the Causes of Bursitis

The causes of bursitis are varied, and can come from three primary sources. For example, it can be the result of an injury, an infection, or the presence of existing health conditions.

1. If a bursa is injured, then the tissue within may feel irritated, which leads to swelling. In most scenarios, this injury will develop and grow worse with time because the tendons and muscles around the area are overused. Repetitive motion can be a frequent risk in the case of this kind of injury.

2. A bursa might be injured through regular lifting or stretching overhead that causes damage to the shoulder, frequently moving the knee, too much walking, or running which harms the hips. Leaning on hard surfaces can also present a significant problem.

3. A bursa may be damaged as a result of a sudden jolt, such as being in an automobile accident or falling onto your knees.

Infection and Bursitis

Besides injury, another one of the most common causes of bursitis is infection. Bursae that are located close to the skin surface – like those located around the elbow – can easily become infected when bacteria are allowed to come in contact with grazes and cuts, before getting into a bursa. Bursitis can come from a specific infection called septic bursitis.

The human immune system, which is the natural source of defense against most forms of injury and disease, will usually prevent any kind of infection to the bursa. This means that septic bursitis, or bursitis caused by infection usually happens in people who have a low immune system for some reason. This weakness may occur as a result of a chronic condition like AIDS or HIV, or it might happen because you are taken a certain type of medication. Alcoholism and kidney conditions, as well as diabetes can also place some people at higher risk of suffering from bursitis that comes primarily from an infection.

Health Conditions that Cause Bursitis

Finally, the last of the most common causes of bursitis is the existence of a certain health condition. Many health conditions might cause inflammation in the bursae, and these issues can include pseudo gout and gout, which is a condition resulting from the presence of too much uric acid in the blood. Additionally, bursitis might be caused by being overweight; having systemic lupus erythematosus, which is a condition which harms many organs and tissues within the body; scleroderma; and rheumatoid arthritis.

If you are concerned that any of your primary conditions may place you at greater risk of bursitis, and you begin to notice symptoms, you should speak to a doctor as early as possible.