Bursitis classification

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Sara Mehrsefat, M.D. [2]


Based on the nature of the inflammation, bursitis may classified into two subtypes: septic and aseptic. Common anatomic location include the shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, and ankle. The most common bursitis subtypes include subacromial, olecranon, trochanteric, prepatellar, and retrocalcaneal. Moreover, based on the location of the affected bursa in relation to the skin, bursitis may be further classified into two additional subtypes: superficial and deep. Superficial bursa are more prone to get infected with bacteria and develop septic bursitis. Common locations of septic bursitis include the knee (prepatellar bursitis) and elbow (olecranon bursitis).[1][2][3][4]


Based on the nature of inflammation bursitis may classified as:[1][2][3][4]

Common anatomic locations include:

Based on the location of the affected bursa in relation to the skin, bursitis may be further classified into two subtypes: superficial and deep.

Additionally, based on duration of symptoms and presentation bursitis may classified as acute, subacute or chronic.


The following are images associated with different type of bursitis.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Chatra PS (2012). "Bursae around the knee joints". Indian J Radiol Imaging. 22 (1): 27–30. doi:10.4103/0971-3026.95400. PMC 3354353. PMID 22623812.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Fauci, Anthony S., and Carol Langford. Harrison's rheumatology. McGraw Hill Professional, 2010.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Walker‐Bone, Karen, et al. "Prevalence and impact of musculoskeletal disorders of the upper limb in the general population.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Aaron, Daniel L., et al. "Four common types of bursitis: diagnosis and management." Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 19.6 (2011): 359-367.

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