Symptoms of bursitis 

Bursitis causes pain, inflammation and tenderness in the affected area of the body.

The severity of bursitis depends on how inflamed the bursa is. It can cause swelling and stiffness and the affected area may also be warm and red.

The pain of bursitis usually feels like a dull ache made worse by movement or pressure. Supporting your body weight may be painful. For example, if you have bursitis in your hip, you may find it difficult to lie on the affected side.

Septic bursitis

Septic bursitis is bursitis caused by infection. This can cause additional symptoms, such as:

  • a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above
  • feeling shivery
  • an infection of the deeper layers of the skin (cellulitis)  
  • broken skin over the affected area  

When to seek medical advice

See your GP if you have symptoms of bursitis and a fever as it's likely you have an infection.

Otherwise, see your GP if your symptoms don't improve after two weeks.


Page last reviewed: 10/12/2014

Next review due: 10/12/2017