Preparing for your appointment

You'll likely start by seeing your family doctor, who might refer you to a doctor who specializes in joint disorders (rheumatologist).

What you can do

Make a list that includes:

  • Detailed descriptions of your symptoms and when they began
  • Information about your medical history and your family's
  • All medications and dietary supplements you take, including doses
  • Questions to ask the doctor

For bursitis, questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What is the most likely cause of my symptoms?
  • What are other possible causes?
  • What tests will I need?
  • What treatment approach do you recommend?
  • I have other medical problems. How best can I manage them together?
  • Will I need to limit my activities?
  • Do you have brochures or other printed material I can take? What websites do you recommend?

What to expect from your doctor

During the physical exam, your doctor will press on various spots around your affected joint to try to determine whether a specific bursa is causing your pain.

Your doctor may also ask you questions, such as:

  • Did your pain come on suddenly or gradually?
  • What kind of work do you do?
  • What are your hobbies or recreational activities?
  • Does your pain occur or worsen during certain activities, such as kneeling or climbing stairs?
  • Have you recently fallen or had another injury?
  • What treatments have you tried?
  • What effect did those treatments have?