Ice brings down swelling by slowing the blood flow into the area. Leave an ice pack on the joint for about 20 minutes, or twice as long if your bursitis is deep in the joint.
Don't forget to protect your skin by putting a towel or cloth between the ice pack and bare flesh. Ice treatment works especially well for reducing discomfort and swelling during the first couple of days [source: Johns Hopkins]. Moldable ice packs, which are available at most pharmacies and drug stores, tend to be less messy and they more easily surround the affected area -- plus, they're reusable.