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Ischial Bursitis Symptoms

author image A.M. Tacon
A.M. Tacon is an associate professor of health at Texas Tech University. Her research interests include psychosocial factors in cancer, complementary therapies and stress reduction in individuals with cancer. Dr. Tacon runs mindfulness-based stress reduction programs for women with breast cancer, which is based on various forms of mindfulness meditation.
Ischial Bursitis Symptoms
Ischial Bursitis Symptoms

Ischial bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa that covers what is known as the ischial tuberosity, that is, the protrusion of bone in the pelvis upon which one sits when in a seated position. A bursa is a flat and closed sac that protects the tendons from actual bone as they slide over the ischial tuberosity; also, this bursa keeps the ischial tuberosity and gluteus maximus muscle in the buttocks apart. This condition has previously been referred to as “tailor’s seat” or "weaver’s bottom” because these occupations dealt with extended periods of sitting, which aggravates the bursitis.

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The primary outstanding symptom experienced is buttock and/or hip pain. Additionally, the individual may report feeling stiff in these regions, and when being examined, may display a localized tenderness in the buttock; specifically, where the buttock commonly makes contact with a chair. Hamstring muscles may also be involved because it travels from the lower pelvis to the back of the thighs. Classically, the pain, tenderness and stiffness get worse with excessive sitting. Also, the discomfort may get worse at night.

Numbness and Tingling

Another reported symptom, in addition to pain, is numbness and a tingling sensation in the involved buttock. The numbness and tingling may radiate down a leg. The symptoms can produce sciatica-like signs and symptoms or sciatica since the sciatic nerve, the longest nerve that humans have, comes out of the spinal cord and travels down the buttocks and continues on down the back of each leg. Typically, one leg or side experiences these sensations, along with muscle weakness; and, the pain of sciatica can be excruciating. Sciatica is considered primarily a symptom produced by a deeper cause.

Other Symptoms

Some individuals may complain of a dull and constant ache-like feeling in the buttocks that gets worse with sitting in the same position and posture for long periods at a time. Additionally, the situation may develop where the bursa becomes filled with fluid when it gets inflamed, which can result in swelling as well as a sensation of warmth.

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