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Tendonitis vs. Bursitis

Our patients will often ask the question, “What is the difference between tendonitis and bursitis?”

Tendonitis (or tendinitis) is inflammation of the tendon, the part of the muscle that connects to the bone. Bursitis is inflammation of the bursa, a fluid sac that is present at certain joints to help tendons and skin glide smoothly over bones during joint motion.

In certain areas, such as the shoulder, the bursa lives directly above the main tendons, so inflammation of one is likely accompanied by inflammation of the other. Some doctors will refer to this type of shoulder inflammation as tendonitis and other doctors will refer to this condition as bursitis…both doctors are correct.

The key concept to understand is that both tendonitis and bursitis are a result of inflammation. This inflammation may be due to overuse of the joint or a specific injury. Overuse can occur to anyone, even in people that are in good shape. For example, runners may develop peroneal tendonitis of their ankles due to subtle changes that lead to overuse. Overuse is more likely to occur if the joint is stiff and the surrounding muscles are weak.

To find out if your joint pain is due to tendonitis or bursitis, please call us at Central Montgomery Orthopedics. We can help you identify the source of your symptoms and develop a treatment plan to get you back on track.

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