Bursitis Diagnosis: What to Expect During Your Doctor Visit

Bursitis Diagnosis

and Health

If you think you may have bursitis, you may be wondering what to expect during your visit to the doctor. Bursitis is a painful inflammation of the bursa, a fluid-filled sac which cushions the joints. Bursitis diagnosis is usually made through a physical examination, imaging tests, and other tests.

Physical Examination

During your visit, your doctor will ask questions about your medical history and symptoms. For example, they may ask how long you have had your symptoms, how much pain you’re in, and what activities you do regularly.

Your doctor will also examine the affected joint and move it around to check for pain or stiffness. They may also apply pressure to the area and check for warmth or sensitivity. This is a good way for them to rule out other causes of your symptoms, such as arthritis, tendonitis, or a bone fracture.

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Imaging Tests

Your doctor may order imaging tests to get a clearer picture of what’s going on inside your joint. These tests may include X-rays, CT scans, and ultrasounds. X-rays can help show bony structures or the appearance of the bursa. CT scans provide detailed images of the bones, muscles, tendons, and bursae. Ultrasounds can detect fluid in the bursae and show damage to the surrounding structures.

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Other Tests

In some cases, your doctor may order other tests to confirm their diagnosis. These tests may include blood tests, joint aspiration, or an arthroscopy. Blood tests can detect signs of infection, inflammation, or a chemical imbalance related to bursitis. Joint aspiration involves draining out the fluid in the bursa to analyze it for signs of infection or other abnormalities. An arthroscopy is a surgical procedure that allows your doctor to directly examine the joint or bursa using a tiny camera.


Following your bursitis diagnosis, your doctor will advise on a treatment plan. In many cases, this will involve taking medications to reduce pain and swelling and rest the joint. Physical therapy or exercises to improve joint strength and flexibility may also be recommended. In some cases, if the bursitis is caused by an infection, you may need antibiotics or other medications to treat the infection. Your doctor may also suggest having any fluid drained from the bursa in order to reduce swelling.

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If you’re experiencing any symptoms that could be related to bursitis – such as pain, stiffness, or swelling – talk to your doctor to get an accurate bursitis diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.