Bursa/Bursitis in Impairment Physical Exams

21 February 2012 / Impairment Physical Exam / Comments Off on Bursa/Bursitis in Impairment Physical Exams


A bursa is a fluid-filled sac made of soft tissue that acts as a cushion to reduce friction between tendons and bones. Bursitis (inflammation of a bursa) occurs when the bursa becomes irritated from overuse or direct trauma. Symptoms include: pain, swelling, and even redness if infected. Shoulders, elbows, and knees are common areas prone to bursitis.


This condition is often seen in trades where the employee is frequently on his/her knees such as carpet and floor industries. Treatment consists of ice, rest, physical therapy, and cortisone injections. Surgery, excision, and drainage are rarely recommended as treatment methods. Difficult cases should be referred to an orthopedist for further evaluation.

*Common locations: shoulder, elbow, and knees.
*Common causes: repetitive use or trauma.
*Bursitis usually responds well to conservative treatments such as cortisone injections. Orthopedic evaluation may be needed for difficult cases.

Rating Comment: Per the AMA Guides Fifth Edition, bursitis alone is a non-ratable condition. Bursitis may qualify for rating if it interferes with range of motion of a joint.

Back to top