Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Bursitis is inflammation of a bursa. A bursa (the plural form is bursae) is a tiny
fluid-filled sac that functions as a gliding surface to reduce friction between tissues of the body. There are 160 bursae in the body. The major bursae are located adjacent to the tendons near the large joints, such as the shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees.
What causes a bursa become inflamed?
A bursa can become inflamed from injury, infection (rare in the shoulder), or due to an underlying rheumatic condition. Examples of bursitis include injury as subtle as lifting a bag of groceries into the car to inflame the shoulder bursa (shoulder bursitis), infection of the bursa in front of the knee from a knee scraping on asphalt (septic prepatellar bursitis), and inflammation of the elbow bursa from gout crystals (gouty olecranon bursitis).
The symptoms of bursitis are directly related to the degree of inflammation present in the bursa. The inflamed bursa can cause localized pain and tenderness. If the bursa is so inflamed that swelling occurs, it can cause local swelling and stiffness, sometimes associated with local redness and warmth. The inflammation can make it painful to support body pressure. For example, hip bursitis can make it difficult to lay on the affected side of the hip.
Bursitis in the knee, for another example, can make it
painful to lay with the knees touching each other.
Medical Author: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Ischial bursitis is inflammation of the bursa that separates the gluteus maximus muscle of the buttocks from the underlying bony prominence of the bone that we sit on, the ischial tuberosity. Ischial bursitis is a form of bursitis that is usually caused by prolonged sitting on hard surfaces that press against the bones of the bottom or mid-buttocks. Symptoms of ischial bursitis include pain, stiffness, and tenderness located in and around the buttock in the area where the buttock normally meets a chair. Ischial bursitis is also referred to as weaver's bottom because weavers traditionally would weave in a position that aggravated the affected ischial bursa.