What Happens if Bursitis Isn’t Treated?

Bursitis is a common condition affecting the small protective sacs around a joint. Read on to learn more about bursitis and why prompt treatment is essential to treat its often painful symptoms. 

What is Bursitis?

Bursitis is a condition involving inflammation of the bursae. Bursae are small, fluid-filled sacs located around a joint. They absorb impact and reduce friction between the surrounding tissues, preventing joint degeneration. 

Overuse of a joint or staying in a position that places excessive impact on the bursae (like kneeling) can cause bursitis. The symptoms of this condition often include swelling, poor range of motion, and pain in the affected joint.

What Happens If Bursitis is Left Untreated?

In some cases, bursitis resolves on its own with at-home therapies. But, if the symptoms don’t resolve within a few weeks, it’s important to receive professional treatment. Otherwise, bursitis could lead to complications, such as:

  • Chronic pain and swelling: Without enough time to recover, inflamed bursae can cause lasting pain and swelling around the joint. This can make it difficult to move the joint and may hold you back from staying active. 
  • Reduced range of motion: Over time, untreated bursitis can significantly reduce your range of motion in the affected joint. As the joint becomes stiffer and less flexible, you may struggle to carry out daily tasks, like climbing the stairs or reaching for a high shelf.
  • Muscle atrophy: With joint stiffness and pain from bursitis, people often avoid movements that could trigger their symptoms. This can cause the surrounding muscle tissue to weaken. Over an extended period, the muscles may atrophy. 
  • Infection: Though rare, untreated bursitis can cause infection. This poses the risk of increased inflammation, joint damage, and severe complications related to the infection. 
  • Permanent joint damage: People with untreated bursitis may eventually experience damaged cartilage and scar tissue development, both of which can contribute to chronic joint pain. 

If you’re struggling with persistent bursitis symptoms, view the online database of regenerative experts at Regenerative Medicine Now!


Mira Swave, MD

Contributor at Regenerative Medicine Now

Mira Swave, M.D. is a specialist in the field of Regenerative Medicine.
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