What is Bursitis
Bursitis is a painful condition characterizing by bursae inflammation. Bursae are cushions among your bones and the tendons and muscles near your joints.
Bursitis commonly affects the shoulder, elbow and hip. But it can also occur in your knee, heel and the base of your big toe. Bursitis often appears near joints that perform frequent repetitive motion.
Signs and symptoms
The most common symptoms of bursitis are:
- Pain, inflammation and swelling in the shoulders, elbows, hips or knees, particularly during stretching or extending the joint during exercising, lifting or otherwise pushing the joint to its limits.
- Restricted or lost range of motion in a joint, especially affecting the shoulder, with or without immediate pain.
- Muscle weakness due to pain
Left untreated acute bursitis can become chronic. This condition typically causes such complications as frozen joint syndrome or permanent limitations of joint mobility. Bursitis caused by gout, arthritis or chronic overuse may return if the underlying condition is untreated.
Bursitis often is caused by strenuous activity, particularly among the following types of people:
- Manual workers. Heavy lifting, repetitive motion or working for extended periods can strain the joints and bring on a bursitis attack.
- Athletes. They may get bursitis after running, throwing or jumping, or from making aggressive arm swings in tennis, baseball, and even bowling.
- Sedentary people. If they push their bodies past reasonable limits, they have a risk of developing bursitis.
It is impossible to prevent all types of bursitis, but you can decrease your risk and the severity of flare-ups by changing the way you perform certain tasks:
- Use kneeling pads to reduce the pressure on your knees if your job or hobby requires a lot of kneeling.
- Lift properly. Bend your knees when you lift. Failing to do so puts extra stress on the bursae in your hips.
- Wheel heavy loads. Carrying heavy loads puts stress on the bursae in your shoulders. Use a dolly or a wheeled cart instead.
- Take frequent breaks
- Walk around. Try not to sit in one position for too long, especially on hard surfaces, because that puts pressure on the bursae in your hips and buttocks.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight places more stress on your joints.
- Exercise. Strengthening your muscles can help protect your affected joint.
- Warm up and stretch before strenuous activities to protect your joints from injury
Treatment options of bursitis usually consist of conservative measures such as rest, ice and taking a pain reliever as a first step. If these measures are not effective, treatment may include:
- Antibiotic medication is used if the inflammation in your bursa is caused by an infection.
- Physical therapy or exercises are used to strengthen the muscles in the affected area to ease pain and prevent recurrence.
- Injections. Your doctor may inject a corticosteroid drug into the bursa to relieve inflammation. This treatment generally brings rapid pain relief and, in many cases, one injection is all you will need.
- Surgery. Sometimes an inflamed bursa must be surgically drained, but only rarely is surgical removal of the affected bursa necessary.