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Bursitis vs. Tendonitis

Bursitis vs. Tendonitis


Bursitis and tendonitis involve the inflammation or irritation of adjacent portions of the human body.(1) In the case of bursitis, it’s the small sacs or bursae, that lie between muscles, tendons, and skin that are out of whack, whereas tendonitis involves the tendons themselves.


Main Cause


A great majority of both these conditions are caused by physical strain. Perhaps the person contorted themselves in an odd way; perhaps they have poor posture; perhaps they over-exercised, or perhaps they are simply out of shape and exerted themselves. There are all manner of combinations that can lead to the strained form of the two conditions, and in many cases, the diagnosis is quite simple. The patient is ordered to simply take it easy for a while. Other treatments may include splints, ice packs, heat packs, and physical therapy.


A smaller number of bursitis and tendonitis cases are caused by infection. These are usually treated with antibiotics. Even less common is the derivation of one or the other condition from other problems such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disease, and gout.


Cortisone Shot


For those for whom excessive physical strain is unavoidable, other more immediate cures may be considered. In the case of a runner training for a marathon, the diagnosis of bursitis may lead to a cortisone shot directly into the bursae of the affected knee.(2) This is a more expensive method, and may not be covered by an individual’s health insurance plan. But for those who can afford, it is undoubtedly one of the most immediate solutions to both bursitis and tendonitis.


In the case of Achilles tendonitis, if it is in the heel, it can affect even those who are not physically active.(3) A simple heel lift can decrease the pain for sufferers, but usually, a more intense program is prescribed such as three-times daily ice treatments, combined with anti-inflammatory medication. A counter-brace is sometimes also used while the injection of platelet-rich plasma is a method often favored by top-tier professional athletes.



(1) Cedars Sinai – Bursitis and Tendonitis, Retrieved August 2, 2011 from


(2) The Daily Item – “Hip Injury Behind Him, Paul Gouthro Readies for Marine Corps Marathon,” August 2, 2011, Retrieved August 2, 2011 from


(3) Huffington Post – “How To Keep Your Achilles Tendon in Good Health”, August 2, 2011, Retrieved August 2, 2011 from

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