What is Bursitis?

A bursa is a small fluid filled pad/sac that acts as a cushion between skin and bone or between tendons, muscles and ligaments. We all have approximately 160 of these fluid filled sacs and they reduce friction between all these structures. Bursitis is a painful condition that occurs when the bursa becomes inflamed. The most common areas for bursae are the hip, shoulder or elbow. It can also affect the knee, heel or big toe.

Acute bursitis can develop over hours and days and is mostly caused by unaccustomed frequent repetitive movements. The affected area is usually painful when moved or touched. Chronic bursitis may result from repeated or persistent bouts of acute bursitis or repeated injuries as a result of muscle imbalance leading to poor body mechanics.


At Southside Physiotherapy Clinic the most common area we see is the lateral hip. It can cause tenderness of the outer hip with pain sometimes extending from outer thigh down to the knee. It can make it difficult to lie on the affected side and frequently causes difficulty with sleep. Activities such as walking, climbing stairs and standing can increase the pain.


Here at Southside Physiotherapy treatment typically involves:

  • Assessment of the affected area and advice on how acute the bursitis is.
  • Identifying the aggravating factors which may have caused the pain.
  • Strengthening of weakened muscle and re-establishing full range of motion.
  • Prevention of re-occurrence.