Bursas of the hip

A bursa is a fluid-filled sac, functioning as a cushion to absorb shock and facilitate gliding of muscles and bones around the joint. The hip has two main bursas:

The great trochanteric bursa is located on the great trochanter where the large ilio-psoas muscles of the hip joint are attached. This is quite a large bursa and is known for the related pathology, hip bursitis (trochanteric bursitis).

The ilio-psoas bursa is located on the inner side of the hip. Also this bursa is subject to inflammation or bursitis, albeit less commonly.

Intervertebral disks

Intervertebral disks are positioned between the vertebrae to absorb the stress of the spine and facilitate the movement. They are very important structures for the stability and flexibility of the spine. Because of their position, the intervertebral disks prevent friction between the vertebrae. They are flat and round, with a thickness of about a half-inch and are made up of two parts:

Nucleus pulposus located at the centre filled with a jelly-like material providing flexibility and strength.

Annulus Fibrosus – is the flexible outer ring of the disk. It consists of several layers, similar to elastic bands, which adapt to vertebral movements. In standing position the weight draws onto the nucleus allowing it to expand whilst the ring will keep it in place. The annulus maintains the strength of the spine and acts as shock absorber. Many nerve endings supply the annulus and, as a result, an injury to the annulus causes pain and neurological symptoms

Subacromial bursa

The bursa is a fluid-filled sac enclosed in a synovial membrane. In the body there are several bursas that are intrinsic parts of the joints. The bursa is generally located within joints or beneath tendons to prevent friction of the tendons and bones during motion.

In the shoulder the subacromial bursa is situated between the acromion and the insertion of the supraspinatus tendon – one of the three tendons forming the rotator cuff – positioned above the capsule. It extends underneath the deltoid muscle and above the head of the humerus.

The subacromial bursa is one of the largest bursas of the body and is often subjected to various conditions most notably the impingement of the shoulder caused by the inflammation of the bursa, a pathology also named bursitis.


The bursa is an important structure of the ankle joint. It’s a fluid-filled sack acting as a cushion to absorb shocks and lubricate the joint with a dense fluid.

There are three bursas in the ankle joint:

subcutaneous bursa of medial malleolus is found between the medial ligament and the medial malleolus, the distal edge of the tibia. It facilitates the dorsiflexion and plantar flexion

Two bursas are located in the inner and outer aspect of the Achilles. They are the:

retro-calcaneal bursa lies between the Achilles tendon and the posterior side of the calcaneus and protects the Achilles from injuries

subcutaneous calcaneal is bursa located superficially under the skin of the calcaneus bone adjacent to the soft tissue of the heel


There are four bursas in the foot:

metatarsal bursa is located at the base of the toes under the metatarsal bones just above at the balls of the foot

inter-metatarsal bursas are small bursas located between the toes (metatarsal bones)

metatarso-phalangeal bursa is located on the inner part of the foot, laterally to the hallux (enlarged with bunion)

calcaneal bursa lies under the calcaneus bone on the foot and above the fat tissue of the heel.