Sunday, December 10, 2023

What’s The Difference Between Arthritis And Bursitis

How Can I Tell The Difference Between Arthritis Bursitis And Tendinitis

Exercises for shoulder pain, Impingement, Bursitis, Rotator Cuff Disease by Dr Furlan MD PhD

Aches and pains may be a natural part of the aging process, but they do not have to prevent you from participating in the activities you enjoy. Joint pain can be frustrating, worrisome, and even threaten the healthy function of the knees, hips, elbows, and fingers. When pain and discomfort threaten mobility, who should you turn to for help?

When patients seek guidance for arthritis, bursitis, and tendinitis, EmergeOrtho physicians are here to help. EmergeOrtho subspeciality orthopedic doctors are leaders in their field. Our board certified and fellowship trained, EmergeOrtho specialists are dedicated to the precision diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of multiple conditions.

Is My Hip Pain From Arthritis Or Bursitis

Your hips have a herculean task: they must support the weight and movement of your entire body while simultaneously allowing for a wide range of motion. Hips accomplish this through a system of complicated biological machinery. However, the complexity of this system brings with it several drawbacks. First, the more moving parts a system has, the more likely a problem may arise. Second, when a problem does arise, it affects the entire system. In the hips, this means finding out what exactly went wrong can be difficult.

Two of the most common issues with the hip are bursitis and arthritis. They are completely different conditions with their own unique causes, yet they exhibit extremely similar symptoms, making it difficult to differentiate which is which.

This article provides information about each condition, including their causes, symptoms, and treatment options. Note that this article is not a substitute for an evaluation from a medical professional. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms in this article, schedule an appointment with Dr. Steve Hamilton, a hip joint expert at Beacon Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine.

Symptoms Of Hip Arthritis

Hip arthritis may cause any of the following symptoms:

  • Hip pain thatâs worst in the morning.
  • Hip pain that worsens after long periods of inactivity.
  • A feeling of locking, sticking, grating, or grinding when moving the upper leg.
  • Stiffness and inflexibility in the hip joint. May cause limping.
  • Pain that starts from within the hip socket and radiates outward. It can be felt in the buttocks, groin, and thigh.

Osteoarthritis is the culmination of many years of joint deterioration. Age, obesity, and frequent strenuous activity all contribute to cartilage breakdown and can lead to the disease.

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General Signs And Symptoms Of Spinal Osteoarthritis

Regardless of the location, people with spondylosis often have 1 or more of the following signs and symptoms:

  • Spinal pain that comes and goes
  • Spinal stiffness first thing in the morning
  • A crunching feeling or sound of bone rubbing on bone
  • Spinal deformity

Symptoms of Cervical Spinal Arthritis

  • Pain, tenderness, tingling, or numbness in your neck or shoulders
  • Pain that radiates from your neck down into your shoulders, arms, and/or hands
  • Limited range of motion in your neck
  • Problems maintaining balance

Symptoms of Thoracic Spinal Arthritis

  • Pain localized in your thoracic spine
  • Pain that spikes when you bend forward and/or backward your back

Symptoms of Lumbar Spinal Arthritis

  • Pain, weakness, or numbness in your low back, legs, and/or feet
  • Limited range of motion in your low back
  • Back pain that eases with rest or after exercising
  • Severe leg pain

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When Should I Seek Medical Advice

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Most cases of bursitis improve without any treatment over a few weeks. See your healthcare provider if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Pain that interferes with your day-to-day activities.
  • Soreness that doesnt improve despite self-care measures.
  • Bursitis that comes back .
  • Fever.
  • Redness, swelling or warmth in the injured area.

For most people, bursitis is preventable. The first step is figuring out what movements caused the irritation. Then you can avoid those movements or find workarounds, like cushions or devices that can ease joint pressure. Take the necessary steps at home and get medical care, if needed, so you can regain pain-free use of your joint

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/29/2020.


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Key Differences Of Hip Bursitis And Arthritis

Hip Bursitis:

  • The pain originates on the outside of the hip in the lower region
  • When too much pressure is applied to the area, there is more tenderness and pain
  • The pain worsens at night
  • Pain develops into a widespread ache over the region

Hip Arthritis:

  • Pain comes from the inside of the hip joint
  • Pain can also come from the groin, thigh, or buttocks
  • Grating sensation in the hip
  • Pain develops slowly

To Protect Your Shoulders:

  • Avoid activities that require you to reach overhead for long periods.
  • Don’t move your shoulder repeatedly for a prolonged period .
  • Do range-of-motion exercises to maintain strength and flexibility.
  • Use good posture.
  • Don’t grip tools or pens too tightly.
  • Don’t clench your fists.
  • Avoid repeated hand and finger motions.
  • Don’t lean on your elbows, and avoid bumping them.
  • Use a forearm band during physical activity.

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What Is Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain is pain that is felt in the shoulder area, at the top of the arm. It is a sign that the joints, muscles or other parts of the shoulder are injured, strained or not working properly. About one in 10 people experience shoulder pain at some time in their lives. Shoulder pain is common, but it is not usually a sign of arthritis or any other serious medical problem.

Shoulder pain is common but is rarely due to any serious disease. Staying active will help you get better faster and prevent more problems.

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What Is Arthritis Of The Hip

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One of the most common causes of hip pain, arthritis is a wear and tear degenerative disorder that gets worse over time. Osteoarthritis the most common arthritis of the hip occurs when the cartilage within the hips ball-and-socket joint wears down. With less or no cartilage for cushion, the femoral head of the thigh bone rubs against the acetabular socket .

Less common, but still prevalent, is inflammatory arthritis of the hip. Rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and systemic lupus erythematosus are the three types of inflammatory arthritis that affect the hip joint.

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How Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Affect The Shoulder

RA can target the synovial lining of the shoulder joint. Because RA is a symmetrical conditionaffecting the same joints on both sides of the bodypeople with shoulder RA often experience pain and swelling in both shoulders at once. Shoulder RA may cause erosion and deformity of the shoulder joints over time.

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How Is Bursitis Diagnosed

If you suspect you have bursitis or if you have pain near a joint and arent sure if its arthritis or bursitis a knowledgeable doctor should be able to find an answer. The most crucial step toward getting the right diagnoses is a thorough physical exam and patient history. The number-one thing is getting a good history from the patient, including what specific movement bothers them and when it bothers them, says Dr. Huffstutter.

You doctor will likely start the physical exam by asking you to point out where your body hurts. This simple question can provide a lot of insight when it comes to differentiating between bursitis and arthritis. A lot of times a patient will say, I have pain in my hip, and when I say, Where? theyll point to the outside of the joint, says Dr. Barsoum. Thats not arthritis. Arthritis pain comes from inside the joint.

The doctor will then touch the painful area and ask you to move the joint. If you do have bursitis, your doctor may be able feel fluid in a tender spot. If it hurts when Im pressing on the area , then Ill suspect bursitis, says Dr. Barsoum. She often then uses an ultrasound to check for the presence of fluid. In some cases, an MRI might also be used to check for inflamed bursa.

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How Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Affect The Shoulders

One common form of shoulder arthritis is an autoimmune condition called rheumatoid arthritis . You may have pain in both shoulders at once if you have RA. You might also experience: RA affects your joint lining and can cause joint swelling as well. It can cause erosion of your shoulder bones and deformity of your shoulder joints over time.

Can Ra affect shoulders?

The shoulder is commonly affected in RA, with 65% to 90% of RA patients reporting symptoms affecting the shoulder. When RA affects the shoulder, it can make a range of common tasks and movements difficult or impossible, leading to pain and discomfort, as well as significant disability.1.

Why does the top of my shoulder hurt?

Shoulder pain can occur due to age or activity related issues such as arthritis. Pain on the top of the shoulder can also start following an injury. The most common type of injury which causes pain on the top of the shoulder is a fall directly on the side of the shoulder.

When To See Your Doctor

Hip Bursitis

If youve been experiencing joint pain for a few weeks or longer, visit your doctor. You should see a doctor right away if you become unable to move your joint, notice the joint is very swollen and the skin is overly red, experience severe symptoms that interfere with your ability to complete daily activities. You should also see your doctor if you have a fever or flu-like symptoms along with joint pain. A fever may be a sign of an infection. See your doctor for a proper diagnosis, as each condition is treated differently. Bursitis is usually a temporary form of joint pain, while OA is a longer-lasting form.

For persistent joint pain that is interfering with your daily activities, see a Tristate rheumatologist to make the correct diagnosis and begin the proper treatment.

Contact Us For More Information to Request an Appointment

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Comparing Arthritis And Bursitis Symptoms

Is your hip pain caused by osteoarthritis, bursitis, or something else? A closer look at the symptoms of osteoarthritis and bursitis may provide you clues.

Symptoms that suggest hip osteoarthritis include:

  • Pain that originates from the inside of the hip joint and may also be felt in the groin and thigh, and occasionally the buttock
  • Increased hip joint stiffness and/or decreased range-of-motion
  • Grating or creaking sensations, known as crepitus
  • Referred pain in the knee

Read more about Hip Osteoarthritis Symptoms

Symptoms that suggest hip bursitis include:

  • Hip pain that is felt on the outside of the lower hip
  • Pain and tenderness that increases when pressure is put on the affected hip, such as when lying on your side

Read more about Hip Bursitis Symptoms

Keep in mind that its possible to have hip osteoarthritis and hip bursitis at the same time. It is also possible to have hip osteoarthritis or hip bursitis alongside another condition, such as a tight IT band, a hip labrum tear, or low back arthritis. A doctor can provide you with a definitive diagnosis and recommend treatment.

Luckily, the pain and symptoms of both hip bursitis and hip osteoarthritis can be treated. Common nonsurgical treatments for both conditions include ice or heat therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, therapeutic injections, and physical therapy. Occasionally, severe cases are treated with surgery.

What Happens When You Have Bursitis

You get bursitis when you have inflammation inside a bursa. This increases the amount of fluid in the bursa and makes it expand. The area around the bursa then becomes painful, swollen and hot, which can stop you being able to use that joint or limb properly.

The bursae in your feet can become inflamed if you wear high heels or tight shoes, or if you do too much weight-bearing exercise, such as running, jumping, or lifting weights while standing.

A sign of bursitis is often a dull, aching pain and swelling in the balls of your feet. This is usually caused by inflamed bursae.

Jobs and hobbies where you use repetitive movements or activities can make you more likely to get bursitis. This includes:

  • carpet fitters who kneel a lot
  • people who lean on their elbows to work or study
  • people who spend a long time on their feet, standing or walking around.

You can get inflamed bursae next to large bunions or other joints, such as at the backs of your elbows or the side of your hips.

You can also develop bursitis if you have:

  • gout or another condition that causes hard crystals to gather in or around your joints
  • an injury that keeps coming back
  • an infection in or near a joint
  • an inflammatory condition such as rheumatoid arthritis increases your risk of getting it.

You can find more information about pain in specific areas of the body by visiting our information on:

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Treatment For Tendinitis And Bursitis

Immediate treatment for tendinitis and bursitis should include the RICE method:

  • Rest to prevent further injury
  • Ice for short-term pain relief
  • Compression for pain reduction and reduced swelling
  • Elevation to control swelling

Other treatment methods include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Advil and Aleve , can further help alleviate inflammation and pain.
  • Cortisone injections may be used if the symptoms are persistent. Cortisone is a powerful anti-inflammatory drug that provides short-term pain relief but tends to be less effective as a long-term therapy.
  • Physical therapy can strengthen the surrounding muscles, alleviate stress on the affected area, and prevent a recurrence.

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Over 21 million Americans suffer with the pain, stiffness, and poor mobility associated with the more than 100 types of arthritis. The most common kind is osteoarthritis . It usually stems from advancing age, sports injuries, a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, and more. The knee, hip, and shoulder are most often impacted by OA and its symptoms, which are progressive in nature.

With hip arthritis, people usually feel:

  • More pain and stiffness in the morning
  • Discomfort that starts with the hip and radiates to the buttocks and down the leg
  • Pain thats worse with standing or sitting still for long periods of time
  • A grinding sensation and hearing noises coming from the hip

While pain medications, assistive devices , and physical therapy relieve pain and stiffness, as well as improve endurance and strength, surgery may be an eventuality in some cases.

As cartilage on bone ends and sockets deteriorates, patients and their orthopedic surgeons may opt for new joints through joint replacement surgery and hip resurfacing procedures. These state-of-the-art treatments are highly successful but involve a large degree of rehabilitation afterwards.

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What Other Treatment Options Are Available

Your healthcare provider may recommend advanced treatment options such as:

  • Antibiotics if you have an infection.
  • Physical therapy to increase range of motion.
  • Occupational therapy to learn how to move in ways that dont stress the area.
  • Injection of a corticosteroid medication to quickly decrease inflammation and pain.
  • Surgery to repair the bursa, if other treatments dont work after six months to a year.

The Differences Between Arthritis And Bursitis

Now that you have a general understanding of what these conditions are, its time to explore the differences between arthritis and bursitis. We have already mentioned some distinctive elements, but wed now like to condense them into the following list:

  • Bursitis is an acute manifestation, while arthritis develops chronically.
  • Bursitis can be treated in a couple of weeks and its sequelae are minimal. Arthritis, on the other hand, requires permanent treatment and can seriously limit the mobility of patients.
  • The inflammation of arthritis lies in the joint itself. In the case of bursitis, it is located in the bags that line the tissues.
  • Bursitis can appear suddenly, most often after overexertion. All types of arthritis appear progressively .
  • The diagnostic process for arthritis is more complex. It requires several imaging tests, laboratory tests, and ruling out explanations for the different symptoms. Some variants take several months to diagnose.

These are the main differences between arthritis and bursitis. In general, we can say that the location and evolution of both is different, which allows the specialist to distinguish between the two diseases and their particular characteristics.

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To Protect Your Wrists And Hands:

  • Avoid repeating the same hand movement for long periods.
  • Use your forearm or entire arm instead of just your wrist or hand.
  • Take frequent breaks from doing fine handiwork or writing.
  • Englarge handles on tools, utensils, pencils, and pens with tape or foam so your grip won’t be too tight.
  • Carry objects with your palms open and flat.
  • Wear a splint during prolonged activity.

Is It Arthritis Or Bursitis

retrocalcaneal bursitis : causes , symptoms &  treatment

In the most general sense, arthritis is a long-lasting condition that affects bones and cartilage while bursitis is a transient condition that affects bursae, tendons, ligaments, and muscles.


  • Characterized by a sharp, shooting, stabbing, throbbing, or stinging pain.
  • Characterized by pain, swelling, and one or more joints that feel warm to the touch.
  • Symptoms gradually worsen over months and years.
  • Symptoms only last for a few weeks if properly treated.
  • Results from wear and tear, trauma, and autoimmune responses.
  • Results from chronic overuse of the joint. It is less likely to result from a traumatic injury.
  • Pain and stiffness increases from inactivity.
  • Pain and stiffness increases with activity.
  • Joint damage is irreversible.

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