Difference between Bursa and Synovial Fluid


Bursa is a small fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion and reduces friction between the joints/bones. Also, it helps in the free movement of the bones. The different types of bursa are –

  • Adventitious bursa
  • Synovial bursa
  • Subcutaneous bursa
  • Submuscular bursa

The adventitious are found only in places that are exposed to repeated stress. The synovial bursae are found in synovial joints, and the subcutaneous is under the skin. The synovial bursa is a fluid-filled sac that is lined by synovium. Its inside surface has a capillary layer of synovial fluid. The submuscular is present under the muscle.

Synovial Fluid

It is a viscous fluid found in the cavities of diarthrosis or the synovial joint. This fluid also reduces the friction in the synovial joints. Also, it acts as a shock absorbent. The articular cartilage lies inside the cavity of synovial joints, and this cartilage is soaked with the synovial fluid. The synovial fluid is also produced by the synovium or synovial membrane that lines the cavity. It forms a small part of the extracellular fluid.

The synovial fluid helps in the supply of nutrients and oxygen, and also removes the metabolic waste from the surrounding cartilage.

Also Read: Body Fluids and Circulation

Difference between Bursa and Synovial Fluid


Synovial Fluid

It is a tiny fluid sac that is found in between muscles, tendons, skin and ligaments.

It is a viscous fluid found in the cavities of diarthrosis or the synovial joint.

It acts as a cushion between muscles/tendons, and facilitates bone movement by avoiding friction.

It reduces friction, acts as a shock absorbent, and helps in the distribution of nutrients and oxygen. Also, it aids in the removal of metabolic waste.

Inflammation in the fluid-filled bursa is termed bursitis.

Inflammation due to the collection of synovial fluid is associated with arthritis, gout, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is bursitis?

Any inflammation in the fluid-filled bursa/bursae can result in bursitis. A healthy bursa produces a smooth and frictionless movement between the joints. Inflammation in this bursae creates pain and makes bone movement difficult. The gliding movement of muscles/tendons over the inflamed bursa can aggravate the condition of bursitis.


What is a synovial joint?

The synovial joint or diarthrosis is a joint that connects cartilage/bones with an articular capsule. It helps in the free movement of the bone. This synovial joint is filled with a viscous fluid called the synovial fluid. The ball and socket joint, pivot joint and saddle joint are some types of synovial joints.


What is a synovial membrane?

Synovial membrane is a connective tissue that lines the inner surface of capsules of synovial joints. This membrane made of connective tissue seals the synovial fluid.

Explore: Synovial Joints

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