What is Ischial Bursitis?

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  • Written By: Allison Boelcke
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 04 May 2020
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Ischial bursitis is a condition that causes the bone areas under the buttocks to become swollen and painful. Small pockets of fluid known as ischial bursa sit between the tendons and joints of the pelvis to help them move properly. If the pockets become irritated, the tendons on the back of the pelvis have difficulty moving smoothly and can cause buttock soreness.

The main bone area that is affected is the ischial tuberosity. It is an area of the pelvis that supports the body while sitting upright. The ischial bursa pockets are located between this pelvic bone and the connective tissues of hamstring. When the ischial bursa cannot function properly due to inflammation, it ends up causing friction and pain in the buttocks.

One of the most common symptoms of ischial bursitis is sharp pain in the buttocks, especially while sitting down. The bones under the buttocks will typically hurt more than the muscles. The irritation of the buttocks can end up traveling down the back of the legs and cause them to lose partial sensation and feel tingly.

Ischial bursitis can be caused by a variety of factors. The condition often occurs when a person sits for long periods of time without taking periodic breaks to stand up. The constant sitting adds excessive pressure to the ischial bursa pockets. A bacterial infection or a direct injury, such as falling and landing on the buttocks, can also cause the condition. Preexisting joint conditions, such as gout or arthritis, may make a person more likely to suffer from ischial bursitis.

The condition is usually not serious or likely to cause additional complications. A doctor may prescribe medication to help reduce the swelling of the ischial bursa. If the pain is severe, he or she may inject a patient with corticosteroid to give temporary relief. Antibiotics may be used as treatment if the condition is caused by a bacterial infection.

Ischial bursitis can also be treated with home relief remedies. A person with the condition will usually be advised to rest the buttocks area and avoid sitting or putting pressure on it. He or she can apply an ice pack to relieve any mild swelling. The condition will typically subside within one month.

People who are more susceptible to the condition, such as those who have a job that requires constant sitting, can take certain steps to prevent the condition from reoccurring. They can sit on a cushion to take pressure off the ischial tuberosity bone area. Sitting up straight and keeping the spine aligned can also help prevent any irritation. Taking short, regular breaks from sitting will also reduce the likelihood of inflaming the ischial bursa.

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Post 1

My dad had bursitis in his shoulders and I know how much that hurt him, so I can only imagine what this condition must be like. Ouch!

My husband also has a touch of bursitis in his shoulder and says ice really helps it. Fortunately, he can take pain relievers like Naprox, so that helps reduce the inflammation. I would hope people with this condition could also take NSAIDs to relieve pain.

The article says the condition is not serious. Hmm. I have to wonder if someone who has it would say it isn't serious. It might not lead to other conditions, but anything that hurts where you sit is serious, in my opinion.

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