Tendonitis versus Bursitis

Tendonitis is a condition that refers to the inflammation of the tendon, a rope-like, fibrous tissue that connects the muscles to the bones. When we flex and relax our muscles, the tendon pulls on the bone to create movement. Tendons come in all shapes and sizes and are numerous throughout the body.

Bursitis is a condition that refers to the inflammation of a fluid-filled sac, known as a bursa. The bursa acts as a cushion between bones and the tendons/muscles surrounding the bone. The bursa greatly reduces friction as these structures regularly rub against one another. The major bursa are found around the larger joints such as the knee, hip, and shoulder; however, there are other bursa found throughout the body.



  • Structures affected: tendon
  • Causes: acute injury or repetitive motion
  • Pain increases: upon contraction of the affected muscle
  • Common symptoms: redness, swelling, heat, and pain
  • Structures affected: bursa sac
  • Causes: acute injury, repetitive motion, infection, and underlying conditions such as arthritis or gout
  • Pain increases upon stretching the muscle which lays over the bursa
  • Common symptoms: redness, swelling, heat, and pain

Because tendons and bursa are often closely situated, any inflammation that occurs in one may affect the other. They are independent yet co-existing conditions that are sometimes, but not always, caused by the same thing.

At Sunnybrea Therapeutics we are well-versed in both the assessment and treatment of these two conditions. Please book an appointment with us if you feel you are affected by one of these conditions.