Bursa Injections

What Are Bursa Injections?

A bursa is a gel-filled sac that helps lubricate muscles and tendons, allowing the bones motions to move smoother. You have bursae in your shoulders, elbows, hips, knees as well as other parts of your body. Bursa injections help relieve pain in these areas.

When bursae get swollen its called “bursitis“, which can cause joint pain. The most common form of bursitis is bursitis of the hip, or “trochanteric bursitis”. A steroid (synthetic cortisone) medication injected into your bursa (bursa injection) can help reduce the inflammation and alleviate the pain.

Bursa Injections being performed on a patient

What is a bursa injection procedure like?

First your doctor will numb your skin with a local anesthetic. After your skin becomes numb, your doctor will insert a small needle into your bursa to inject a mixture of anesthetic and steroid.

You will be awake during the procedure. It only takes a few minutes, and in most circumstances, you can go home soon after the procedure.

What are the risks of bursa injections?

The risk of complication from a bursa injection is very low. Whenever a needle enters the skin, bleeding or infection can occur, bruising, swelling or inflammation at the injection site.

Side effects of the steroid medication are rare, but can include:

  • Slight fever
  • Flushed face
  • Increased appetite
  • Hiccups
  • Headache
  • Increased heart rate
  • Water retention
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Abdominal cramping or bloating

These effects resolve within a few days.

What happens after the procedure?

You can continue your regular diet and prescribed medications post-injection, but refrain from strenuous activity for 24 hours after a bursa injection. Take it easy. You can return to your normal activities the following day.

Numbness at the injection site is normal for the first few hours, but expect for the pain to return temporarily.

The injected steroid should begin to take effect within the fist one to three days, at this point you should begin to notice the benefits of your bursa injection.

The benefits of the steroid gradually become more and more powerful until it peaks after about two weeks. Following the peak the effect will stabilize and should last several weeks to months.

If however you don’t feel better within the first 10 days of the injection, see your doctor for more evaluation and to discuss different treatment options.