Bursitis: Diagnosis & Tests

A bursitis diagnosis can be made by your doctor using only a medical history and a physical exam. He may ask about your profession or hobbies since they may be linked to your bursitis, particularly if it appears in a shoulder or knee. Your doctor may also use an MRI scan or ultrasound to help make a diagnosis. Although bursitis generally won’t show up on an x-ray, an x-ray may be used to rule out other potential causes of your symptoms.

Your doctor may remove some of the fluid in the bursa for testing. Blood samples may also be drawn. Results from these will help to determine if the bursitis is related to an infection or rheumatoid condition. If your bursitis is caused by an infection, testing the fluid inside the bursa may reveal what exactly is causing the infection.

Kurt Ullman has been a medical writer for more than 25 years. He is based in Indiana.

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