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Difference Between Bursitis and Tendinitis

The inflammation of the tendons (tendons connect muscles to bones) causes a painful condition known as tendonitis. Bursitis occurs when the a synovial-fluid-filled tiny sac (termed as bursa) that envelopes a joint become irritated and inflamed. 

Similar to tendinitis, bursitis (bur-sigh-tus) frequently results from repetitive motion – usually, the knees, elbows, shoulder, or hips are affected.


Both bursitis and tendinitis involve inflammation and swelling of the soft tissue enveloping muscles and bones


Bursitis is a painful condition and involves pain, discomfort and swelling of a bursa, a sac filled with fluid that cushions the joint motion or serves as a bubble wrap around the joint. The shoulder is the location of bursae most frequently affected by bursitis, but other important joints such as the heels, knees, hips, and elbows are also frequently affected.

Pain and swelling are two common sensations that can result from a variety of conditions, including injuries and severe physical exercise. Resting the afflicted joint and avoiding further discomfort are common treatments.


Tendinitis or tendonitis is an inflammatory disorder that affects the tendons (tendons connect muscles to bones) that connect your muscles to your bones. Tendinitis, which is frequently brought on by repetitive motions, can be painful and uncomfortable. The thumb base, Achilles tendon (largest tendon in the body), knee, hips, elbow, and shoulder are common locations for tendinitis.

Difference between Bursitis and Tendinitis


Bursitis – temporary swelling of the bursa (fluid-filled sac that serves as a cushion sitting in bone and soft tissue)

Tendinitis – inflammation or swelling of the tendon – thick fibrous cords or connective tissues that link muscle to bone. 



  • Pain
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Redness and discoloration of the skin
  • A feeling of warmth or heat
  • A limited range of motion
  • Swelling


  • Pain in the affected tendon
  • A lump on the tendon
  • Warmth and redness
  • Tenderness and pain when moving the joint
  • Swelling
  • A catching or grating feeling



  • Physical exertion that is difficult or frequent
  • Trauma or harm
  • Infection
  • Inflammatory ailments including rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and systemic lupus erythematosus can be the underlying causes of rheumatic diseases like pseudogout and gout


The most frequent causes of tendinitis are sudden, severe injuries or repeated, small impacts on the afflicted area.



  • Physical exam
  • A blood test to look for infection
  • X-rays 
  • Ultrasound or MRI to detect swollen bursae
  • An aspiration of your affected bursa if the doctor feels they are infected.


  • Ultrasound or MRI 
  • Physical exam


The points of difference between Bursitis and Tendonitis have been summarized as below:


How do I know if I have bursitis or tendonitis?

The inflammation of the tendons (a cord of strong, flexible tissue, similar to a rope) causes a painful condition termed as tendonitis. The symptoms of bursitis and the condition itself is different. Bursitis (inflammation or irritation of a bursa sac) occurs when the small fluid-filled sacs (termed as bursa) that envelops a joint become irritated and there is swelling. Bot the conditions cause inflammation, redness and pain near the affected joints.

What are 3 symptoms of bursitis?

Skin redness, swollen joints and limited motion and localized tenderness.

How do you rule out bursitis?

As part of a physical examination conducted by a medical professional, a bursitis can be identified by asking about your symptoms and examining the affected area of your body. Bursitis is an inflammation of one or more bursae. Tell your healthcare provider what you were doing when you first noticed symptoms if your profession or hobby requires repetitive motions.

What are the 4 symptoms of tendonitis?

A lump on the tendon, swelling and redness, decreased range of motion

What is a common trigger for bursitis?

Repetitive movements or positions that exert pressure on the bursae surrounding a joint are the common triggers of bursitis.

What happens if you ignore bursitis?

Bursitis left untreated will harm joint health, restrict motion, and reduce quality of life.

What is the fastest way to cure bursitis?

Lay off the injured area. Avoid engaging in any activity or applying any pressure that could hurt. Apply ice or cold packs as soon as you feel pain. Take painkillers. Practice range of motion exercises daily. Do not smoke.

What are 3 causes of bursitis?

  • Injury or overuse
  • Infection 
  • Diabetes
  • Gout
  • Thyroid
  • Arthritis

Does Voltaren help bursitis?

Yes, Voltaren helps bursitis by reducing inflammation in the body and treat pain.

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References :

[0]Hoffman, G. S. (1981). Tendinitis and bursitis. American family physician, 23(6), 103-110.

[1]Huang, H. H., Qureshi, A. A., & Biundo Jr, J. J. (2000). Sports and other soft tissue injuries, tendinitis, bursitis, and occupation-related syndromes. Current opinion in rheumatology, 12(2), 150-154.

[2]Johnston, C. A., Wiley, J. P., Lindsay, D. M., & Wiseman, D. A. (1998). Iliopsoas bursitis and tendinitis: a review. Sports Medicine, 25, 271-283.

[3]Lecomte, J., Buyse, H., Taymans, J., & Monti, T. (1994). Treatment of tendinitis and bursitis: a comparison of nimesulide and naproxen sodium in a double-blind parallel trial. European journal of rheumatology and inflammation, 14(4), 29-32.

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