Bursitis and Tendonitis, What’s the Difference?

By Jana Taylor

Sometimes you hear people use the terms bursitis and tendonitis interchangeably. Even our product Joint and Tendon Rescue® is designed for both ailments interchangeably. Bursitis and tendonitis are actually very similar (both deal with inflammation of soft tissues, and can affect similar areas on the body)… but, they are not exactly the same thing.

Bursitis and tendonitis both entail inflammation of soft tissues around muscles and bones. The difference is that with bursitis, a bursa which is a small fluid-filled sac that is the cushion between a bone and other moving parts, becomes inflamed and swollen. This swelling is the tell-tale sign that you may have bursitis. With tendonitis, it is the tendon that becomes inflamed, generally where the tendon connects to the bone. With tendonitis, swelling is not always as pronounced although it can be present. Since the areas where tendons and bursa are located can be in close proximity sometimes it can be hard to distinguish between the two conditions, and it is possible for both conditions to be present at the same time because inflammation knows no boundaries.

What causes bursitis and tendonitis?
Bursitis and tendonitis are the most common orthopedic diagnoses that people receive. Bursitis is most commonly caused by overuse or injury to a joint. It can occur anywhere there is a bursa sac between a bone and other moving parts. Tendonitis is most often caused by repetitive motion or repeated injury in the affected area. Both these conditions occur more often with age. Persons who have jobs that require repetitive motions are most at risk for these conditions.

joint and tendon rescue

Treatment options?
Treatment for both bursitis and tendonitis are similar. They range from resting the area, all the way up to cortisone shots and surgery in the most difficult cases. However, there are things you can do at home that may resolve the issue.

• Rest – This is the first place to begin. Avoid aggravating movement. This may mean you have to stop activities that you enjoy or alter your work routine.

• Ice – Apply ice to the affected area at 20-minute intervals to help reduce inflammation.

• Over-the-counter medications – Take non-prescription medications to help with discomfort. We of course recommend our Joint and Tendon Rescue®, which works equally well for bursitis as it does tendonitis.

Jana Taylor Jana Taylor is a staff writer for Peaceful Mountain.