Bursitis is a condition caused by inflammation of your bursae, fluid-filled sacs found in your joints. It has similar symptoms to arthritis, but it can generally be treated at home and should go away in a few weeks.
Bursae are fluid-filled sacs surrounding the areas where tendons, skin, and muscles meet bones, helping reduce friction and allowing smooth movement when not inflamed. Like the cartilage in your joints, bursae are essential for healthy joints but can become inflamed and painful, which is known as Bursitis.
While bursitis generally passes in a few weeks, this is little consolation to people affected by aches and pains, so we created this guide to practical treatments and the best natural supplements for bursitis.
To begin with, we’re looking at the causes of bursitis because – as the old saying goes – prevention is always better than a cure.
Table of Contents
- What Causes Bursitis?
- Best Natural Supplements for Bursitis
- Best Supplements for Bursitis
- Types of Bursitis
- What is The Best Way to Cure Bursitis?
- How To Prevent Bursitis?
- Bursitis vs Arthritis: What’s The Difference?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Causes Bursitis?
Bursitis occurs when the bursae that cushion your joints become inflamed, and this condition commonly affects the shoulders, elbows, and hips.
The most common causes of bursitis are repetitive motions, injuries, and damage to your bursae, which can affect virtually anyone, from athletes to office workers.
Furthermore, various risk factors like age, physical activity, and other medical conditions (especially arthritis and other inflammatory conditions) increase your chances of getting bursitis.
If you suffer from joint pain or belong to an at-risk group for bursitis, then taking natural supplements for bursitis could help you live your life without the worry of joint pain.
Best Natural Supplements for Bursitis
Because bursitis is an inflammatory disease, you may be able to reduce symptoms and lower your chances of breakouts by taking anti-inflammatory supplements for bursitis.
To help you tackle your bursitis symptoms, here are some of our favorite natural supplements for joint pain and bursitis.
Note: When it comes to natural supplements, the risk of side effects or overdoses is typically lower than those of prescription medicine or high-strength synthetic products. However, you should always be careful with natural supplements for bursitis, as they may cause side effects or adverse reactions that aren’t obvious, so we have also added recommended doses.
1. Borage Oil
Borago officinalis or starflower is a plant containing gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an omega-6 fatty acid and potent anti-inflammatory that lessens joint pain, stiffness, and swelling.
Recommended dosage: The Arthritis Foundation recommends taking 1,300mg of borage oil daily to see anti-inflammatory benefits, but you may experience mild stomach issues as a side effect.
2. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne peppers are rich in capsaicin, which can block your nerve cells from pain chemicals, meaning that pain relief creams with capsaicin may be effective supplements for bursitis in the short term.
Recommended dosage: Capsaicin creams can provide immediate topical relief when applied three times daily, and capsaicin is generally safe to eat, so feel free to add more chilies and cayenne peppers to your diet.
3. Cat’s Claw
Cat’s claw (or Uncaria tomentosa) is a tropical vine found in South American rainforests that has anti-inflammatory properties, meaning it may help tackle bursitis at the cause.
Recommended dosage: Taking cat’s claw supplements for bursitis has very few side effects, and the Arthritis Foundation recommends taking 250-350mg capsules daily for immune support.
4. Evening Primrose
Like borage oil, evening primrose contains GLA which helps reduce inflammation and means that taking evening primrose supplements for bursitis can reduce inflammation and discomfort.
Recommended dosage: You can take up to 540mg of evening primrose oil daily, though it can take six months to feel the full benefits, and you should avoid evening primrose if you have epilepsy.
5. Fish Oil
Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which may help to prevent chronic inflammation and ease joint stiffness, making them a good choice of supplements for bursitis in the long term.
Recommended dosage: The recommended daily dose of fish oil is 2-3g, comparable to the FDA’s recommended dietary intake of 8 ounces of seafood per week.
RELATED: Read our blog on the benefits of cod liver oil vs fish oil to learn more about Omega-3s here.
Turmeric has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years, as its active ingredient – curcumin – has anti-inflammatory properties which can help reduce swollen bursae.
Recommended dosage: Curcumin has shown health benefits when taken as two 500mg supplements per day, though it might be easier to add turmeric to your diet through teas, curries, and as a spice in your favorite recipes.
RELATED: If you want to learn more about the benefits of curcumin, read our blog on turmeric and curcumin here.
Ginger is a common herb renowned for its invigorating flavor and anti-inflammatory effects, which you can find fresh, dried, or mixed into drinks in most grocery stores.
You can eat it fresh, cook with it, or take ginger supplements for bursitis to experience the anti-inflammatory benefits of ginger.
Recommended dosage: Studies show that daily doses of 500-1000mg of ginger provide slight pain relief when used as supplements for bursitis, though you should try not to exceed four grams a day.
RELATED: If you want to learn more about the benefits of curcumin, read our blog on turmeric and curcumin here.
8. Green Tea
Although it isn’t as popular as black tea (at least in the US), green tea is high in antioxidants and believed to promote digestion, making it well worth trying a cup to relieve bursitis symptoms.
Recommended dosage: While it is known to have negative interactions with some medications, green tea is widely considered safe in doses as high as 4-6 cups daily.
Best Supplements for Bursitis
If you are someone who prefers to get the bursitis supplements from manufacturers directly, we’ve got a few options for you.
1. Pure Therapror Acute Injury Advanced Tendon & Ligament Support
Packed full of vitamin C (with antioxidant benefits) and collagen, these tendon and ligament support supplements from Pure Therapror are designed to tackle inflammation and promote healthy tendons.
What’s more, this product really lives up to the name “Pure”, as it is free of artificial colors, flavors, and fillers, non-GMO and gluten-free, with GMP certification to boot!
2. Gaia Herbs Turmeric Supreme Extra Strength
Produced with a focus on fair trade and environmentally friendly practices, Gaia Herbs’ turmeric supplements blend organic turmeric with black pepper to improve absorption.
These supplements are vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free, making them some of the best supplements for bursitis if you have specific dietary requirements.
3. Arazo Nutrition Joint Support
These supplements are GMP certified, 3rd party tested and proudly made in the USA to provide ‘a complete dietary supplement for joints’ designed to reduce inflammation and support healthy joints.
With a potent blend of glucosamine, hyaluronic acid, turmeric, and much more, Arazo’s Joint Support supplements tackle the root causes of bursitis and arthritis while supporting long-term joint health.
4. Vimerson Health Glucosamine Collagen Boswellia + MSM
Vimerson Health’s Glucosamine supplements help reduce inflammation in your joints and maintain healthy cartilage and connective tissue throughout your body, thanks to various active ingredients.
Furthermore, these supplements for bursitis are GMO-free, gluten-free, GMP-certified, and made in the USA.
5. Pure By Nature Joint Support with Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM & Turmeric
Made with a potent mix of turmeric and various extracts, Pure By Nature’s joint support supplements come in easy-to-swallow capsules and are intended to support long-term joint health.
These supplements are highly reviewed amongst customers with arthritis, so there’s a good chance they can help you deal with bursitis flare-ups!
Types of Bursitis
Although bursitis can occur anywhere there are bursae, it is often categorized based on the cause and location into specific types, such as:
1. Anterior Achilles Tendon Bursitis
Also known as Albert’s disease, this form of bursitis is characterized by inflammation of the bursa in front of the Achilles tendon’s attachment to the heel.
Extra strain on the Achilles tendon from injury, disease, or shoes with rigid back support can cause this, so consider taking supplements for bursitis if you often suffer from this kind of foot pain.
2. Posterior Achilles Tendon bursitis
This type of bursitis affects the bursae between the skin of the heel and Achilles tendon and is also known as Haglund’s deformity.
Aggravated by walking types that press the heel tissue to the back support of shoes, this form of bursitis is more common in people who wear high heels – mostly young women.
3. Hip Bursitis
No prizes for guessing what part of the body hip bursitis (also known as trochanteric bursitis) affects.
This type of bursitis is often caused by injury, arthritis, spinal abnormalities, or injury and is more common in women and older people, so you might want to consider supplements for bursitis if you fall into any of these categories.
4. Elbow Bursitis
Elbow bursitis, caused by the inflammation of bursae between the skin and bones of the elbow, can be caused by injury or constant pressure (from leaning on a hard surface, for example).
5. Knee Bursitis
Also known as goosefoot or Pes Anserine bursitis (after the Pes Anserine bursa located between the shinbone and the three hamstring muscle tendons), knee bursitis can seriously affect your movement.
A variety of factors like tight hamstring muscles, a lack of stretching before exercise, or arthritis may cause this condition, so we have some supplements for bursitis recommendations to help prevent this condition.
6. Kneecap Bursitis
This type of bursitis, also called prepatellar bursitis, is usually caused by sustained pressure on the knees and is common in people who sit on their knees a lot, such as carpet layers and plumbers.
What is The Best Way to Cure Bursitis?
Bursitis is an acute condition and will generally pass in several weeks with rest and basic treatments, though this is little comfort to people suffering from aches and pains in their joints.
Rest, pain medication, ice packs, and natural supplements for bursitis can all help relieve bursitis symptoms, but you may need additional treatment, such as:
- Antibiotics if your bursae become infected
- Corticosteroids to relieve severe pain inflammation and swelling
- At-home exercises can relieve some pain, but severe cases may require physiotherapy
How To Prevent Bursitis?
While bursitis can affect almost everyone – no matter your age, race, or general health – and come on without warning, there are some ways to prevent it.
With some basic lifestyle changes, you can reduce your risk of developing bursitis and prevent severe flare-ups by:
- Maintaining a healthy weight to reduce stress on your joints
- Exercise regularly to strengthen supporting muscles
- Take breaks when doing repetitive tasks to avoid repetitive strain injuries
- Warm up before rigorous exercise
- Try to practice good posture
Bursitis vs Arthritis: What’s The Difference?
Arthritis and bursitis are different conditions but have similar symptoms, so how can you tell them apart and make sure you get the right treatment for your condition?
The key difference between bursitis vs arthritis is the location of the inflammation, but bursitis and arthritis also differ in terms of pathology, onset, and duration.
Although arthritis and bursitis can affect the same joints, arthritis is most common in the knees, hips, and small joints, while bursitis usually affects the shoulders, elbows, and hips.
Bursitis can attack suddenly and usually goes away in a few weeks, unlike arthritis which is usually a progressive disease that resists supplements, unlike supplements for bursitis, which can offer powerful relief.
Unfortunately for many, arthritis is a long-term condition that is often permanent, though bursitis is a short-term condition that won’t cause lasting damage unless physical stress persists.
Frequently Asked Questions
What vitamins help bursitis?
Vitamin B12 and Vitamin C with bioflavonoids are supposedly most helpful for bursitis symptoms (source)
Does glucosamine help bursitis?
Yes, according to some research, glucosamine supplements may be helpful for bursitis.
Does turmeric help bursitis?
Turmeric as a supplement can be beneficial for bursitis due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
What is the best natural anti-inflammatory for bursitis?
Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil supplements or oily fish like salmon, and flaxseed oil, are often recommended as natural anti-inflammatories for bursitis.
As an acute inflammatory disease, bursitis can cause serious joint pain and stiffness but usually passes in a few weeks without the need for medical treatment.
Fortunately for people who suffer from bouts of bursitis (athletes, blue-collar workers, or older people), there are lots of natural supplements for bursitis available that can relieve symptoms, reduce the severity of the disease, and help prevent it in the long term.
Still, you should research supplements carefully and check with your doctor before taking them, as even completely organic supplements can interfere with other medications and cause side effects if you’re not careful.