Does bursitis go away with physiotherapy?

Bursitis is a condition that occurs when the bursae, small fluid-filled sacs that cushion the bones, tendons, and muscles near the joints, become inflamed. The condition can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness in the affected joint.

While bursitis can be treated with medication, physical therapy is often recommended as a non-invasive treatment option for bursitis go away. In this article, I will discuss in detail how physical therapists treat bursitis.

What is bursitis?

Bursitis is inflammation of a bursa, a small, fluid-filled sac that cushions bones, tendons, and muscles around your joints. Bursae help to reduce friction and irritation between these tissues as you move.

There are over 150 bursa in the human body, and they can be found in almost any joint.

Causes of Bursitis

Here are the causes of bursitis 


  • Repetitive motions: Activities that involve repetitive movement of a joint, such as kneeling, throwing, or running, can put excessive stress on the bursa and cause inflammation. This is the most common cause of bursitis.
  • Prolonged pressure: Sitting or kneeling on hard surfaces for extended periods can irritate the bursa and lead to bursitis.


  • Direct trauma: A blow to the area around a joint can injure the bursa and cause inflammation.
  • Overuse injury: Repetitive micro-tears in the tendon or bursa can lead to inflammation and bursitis.


  • Bacteria: Bacteria can enter the bursa through a cut, scrape, or puncture wound, causing an infection.
  • Gout: Gout is a type of arthritis that can cause crystals to deposit in the bursa, leading to inflammation.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: This autoimmune disease can cause inflammation in the bursae, along with other joints.

Other factors:

  • Age: As we age, our tendons become less elastic and more susceptible to tearing, which can lead to bursitis.
  • Diabetes: People with diabetes are at higher risk of developing bursitis due to poor circulation.
  • Obesity: Excess weight puts additional stress on joints and bursae.

Activities that can lead to bursitis

  • Kneeling: Activities like gardening, kneeling on hard surfaces, or flooring.
  • Throwing: Sports like baseball, tennis, or javelin throw.
  • Running: Especially on hard surfaces or without proper footwear.
  • Sitting for long periods: Working at a desk, driving a car, or watching TV.
  • Leaning on elbows: Leaning on elbows frequently can irritate the bursa surrounding the elbow joint.

Symptoms of Bursitis

Here are the common symptoms of bursitis:

  • Pain in the affected joint.
  • Difficulty in movement.
  • Tenderness of affected area.
  • Swelling.
  • Loss of movement.
  • Fever.
  • Joint redness in the affected area.

Physiotherapy helps tendonitis pain

How does physiotherapy help bursitis?

Here’s how physical therapy can help you recover from bursitis:

1.      Reduce pain and swelling

Physical therapists use various modalities to decrease pain and swelling in the affected area.

These may include:

  • Ice packs: Applied to the affected area for 20-minute intervals several times a day, ice helps reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Heat therapy: Applying heat to the area can help increase blood flow and promote healing.
  • Electrical stimulation: TENS units or other electrical stimulation devices can help block pain signals and reduce inflammation.

2.      Improve range of motion

Bursitis can lead to stiffness and decreased range of motion in the affected joint. Physical therapists will guide you through gentle stretching and mobilization exercises to restore your movement and flexibility.

3.      Strengthen muscles

Weak muscles can contribute to bursitis by placing excessive stress on the bursae. Your physical therapist will design a strengthening program to target the muscles surrounding the affected joint, improving their ability to support and protect the bursa.

4.      Improve posture and biomechanics

Poor posture and biomechanical imbalances can put undue stress on your joints and contribute to bursitis. Your physical therapist will assess your posture and movement patterns and recommend adjustments to reduce stress on the affected bursa and prevent future problems.

5.      Education and self-management

Physical therapists will educate you on managing your bursitis at home. This may include:

  • Activity modification: Learning how to modify your activities to avoid aggravating the bursa.
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises: You will be given a personalized exercise program to perform regularly to maintain joint health and prevent future bursitis episodes.
  • Ergonomic advice: Learn how to adjust your work environment and daily activities to reduce stress on the affected joint.

What are the Benefits of physical therapy?

  • Faster recovery: Physical therapy can help you recover from bursitis faster and reduce the need for medication.
  • Reduced pain: Physical therapy can significantly reduce pain and improve your quality of life.
  • Improved function: Physical therapy can help you regain your full range of motion and strength, allowing you to return to your usual activities.
  • Reduced risk of recurrence: Physical therapy can help strengthen the muscles and improve your biomechanics, reducing the risk of bursitis recurring in the future.

Is physiotherapy good for bursitis?

Yes, physiotherapy can be an effective treatment option for bursitis.

How does exercise help bursitis?

Bursitis is the inflammation of the bursae, which are small, fluid-filled sacs that cushion and lubricate joints. It commonly occurs in areas where tendons or muscles rub against bones.

While exercise may not directly cure bursitis, it can play a role in managing symptoms and preventing further complications. Here’s how exercise can help with bursitis:

  1. Improved Joint Function: Regular exercise helps maintain joint flexibility and range of motion. Gentle, controlled movements can prevent stiffness and improve the function of the affected joint, reducing the impact of bursitis on daily activities.
  2. Strengthening Muscles: Strong muscles around the affected joint provide better support and stability. Strengthening exercises can help distribute the load more evenly, reducing stress on the bursae and minimizing irritation.
  3. Weight Management: Excess body weight can exacerbate bursitis, especially in weight-bearing joints like the hips and knees. Engaging in regular exercise, along with a healthy diet, can contribute to weight management, reducing the load on affected joints.
  4. Enhanced Blood Flow: Exercise promotes blood circulation, which is crucial for delivering nutrients and oxygen to the tissues around the affected joint. Improved blood flow can aid in the healing process and reduce inflammation.
  5. Pain Relief: While high-impact activities might aggravate bursitis, low-impact exercises like swimming, biking, or walking can help alleviate pain by promoting circulation, releasing endorphins, and enhancing joint mobility.

It’s important to note that not all types of exercise are suitable for individuals with bursitis. High-impact or repetitive activities that place excessive stress on the affected joint should be avoided.

What is the healing process for bursitis?

Healing from bursitis is like helping a friend recover from a sore spot. Imagine your body has these small cushions called bursae that help your joints move smoothly. When one of these cushions gets irritated and inflamed, that’s bursitis.

Here’s how you can support your body in healing:

  1. Take a Break: Give the irritated joint some time off. Just like you’d rest a sore muscle, let the joint relax. Avoid activities that make it hurt more, so it has a chance to calm down.
  2. Cool Down: Think of ice as a soothing hug for your sore spot. Apply a cold pack wrapped in a thin cloth for about 15 minutes several times a day. It helps ease the swelling and numbs the pain.
  3. Pain Relief Friends: Over-the-counter pain relievers, like ibuprofen, can be like little helpers to make you feel better. Follow the directions, and if you have any concerns, chat with your healthcare friend.
  4. Physical Therapy Playdate: A physical therapist is like your personal coach for healing. They’ll guide you through exercises to make your joints flexible and strong again. It’s like a playdate for your muscles and joints.
  5. Fluid Draining Spa: Sometimes, too much fluid hangs around your sore spot. Imagine a spa day where your healthcare friend uses a gentle needle to remove the extra fluid, helping your joint feel less puffy.
  6. Anti-Inflammatory Superhero Shot: For more stubborn pain, your healthcare friend might suggest a superhero shot—corticosteroid injections directly into the inflamed area. It’s like a powerful ally against inflammation.
  7. Modify the Adventure: Adjusting activities is like changing the route on a hike to avoid a rocky path. Your healthcare friend can guide you on how to modify your movements to keep your joints happy.
  8. Gradual Comeback: Healing is a journey, not a race. When things start feeling better, ease back into your normal activities like catching up with an old friend. Take it slow and listen to what your body is telling you.
  9. Friendly Prevention Tips: Once your joint is back on its feet, think about ways to keep it happy. Maintain a healthy weight, move with good technique, and include some gentle exercises to prevent bursitis from making a surprise visit again.

Think of bursitis healing as caring for a good friend. Give it the rest it needs, some cooling comfort, and the right exercises, and soon enough, your body will be back to its old self—moving and grooving without any hitch.

How can I speed up the healing of bursitis?

If you have bursitis, there are several things you can do to speed up the healing process.

  • Rest and avoid overusing the affected area.
  • Apply ice to the affected area for the first 48 hours after symptoms occur to reduce swelling.
  • Apply dry or moist heat, such as a heating pad or a warm bath, to the affected area.
  • Take an over-the-counter medication, such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium, to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Elevate the affected joint as much as possible and use a compression wrap to reduce swelling.
  • Try physical therapy or exercises to strengthen the muscles in the affected area and improve range of motion and strength.
  • If conservative measures don’t work, you might require medication, injections, or surgery.

It’s important to note that the effectiveness of these treatments depends on the severity of the condition and the underlying cause of the inflammation. It’s best to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any treatment program for bursitis.

Can I do exercises at home to treat my bursitis?

Yes, you can do exercises at home to treat bursitis. Your physical therapist can provide you with a range of exercises that can be safely performed at home with little to no equipment required.


The goal of physiotherapy for bursitis is to reduce inflammation and pressure on the bursa, improve range of motion and strength, and restore normal functional mobility. However, the effectiveness of detail How do physical therapists treat bursitis depends on the severity of the condition and the underlying cause of the inflammation.

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I am a highly skilled and experienced content writer with a Doctorate in Therapy degree. With a deep understanding of the human body and a passion for health and wellness. I combines my clinical expertise and writing skills to create valuable and engaging content.

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