What is Bursitis and How Can I Prevent it?


Bursitis refers to the inflammation of a bursa. A bursa is a fluid-filled, closed sac that acts like a gliding surface and a cushion in order to reduce friction between tissues of the body. The major bursae are situated near to the tendons next to the large joints, such as in the elbows, shoulders, knees and hips.


Bursitis is generally a temporary condition. It may sometimes limit motion, but usually does not result in deformity.


Bursitis could occur in any bursa inside the body, but there are a few commonly seen types of bursitis. These include:


Anterior Achilles tendon bursitis: This kind of bursitis is also known as Retromalleolar bursitis or Albert disease. It’s caused by incidents like shoes with rigid back support, disease or injury. These put additional strain on the lower part of the Achilles tendon that joins the calf muscle to the back of the heel. This can result in inflammation of the bursa situated where the tendon joins the heel.


Elbow bursitis: Elbow bursitis is the result of inflammation of the bursa situated between bones of the elbow (olecranon bursa) and the skin. Elbow bursitis can be caused by applying continuous pressure on the elbow or injury. For instance, it can occur when leaning on a hard surface for a period of time.


Posterior Achilles tendon bursitis: This kind of bursitis is in the bursa, situated between the Achilles tendon and the skin of the heel. This joins the heel and calf muscles. It is increased by walking which can lead to pressing the soft heel tissue sternly into the hard back support of the shoe. Walking in shoes that on a regular basis puts pressure on the heel can lead to the bone getting enlarged at the back of the heel. Examples of these shoes are pumps or high heels. This enlargement is known as Haglund deformity.


Knee bursitis: Bursitis in the knee is also known as Pes Anserine bursitis or goosefoot bursitis. The Pes Anserine bursa is situated between the three tendons of the hamstring muscles and the shin bone, on the inside of the knee. This type of bursitis might be the result of being overweight, not stretching before exercise, out-turning of the knee or lower leg, tight hamstring muscles, or arthritis.


Hip bursitis: This is also known as trochanteric bursitis. Hip bursitis is usually caused by arthritis, injury, surgery or overuse. This kind of bursitis is mostly seen in women and older and middle-aged adults.


Kneecap bursitis: This is also known as prepatellar bursitis. This kind of bursitis is usually observed in people who are on their knees a lot, like plumbers and carpet layers.


What Causes Bursitis?


The most commonly seen causes of bursitis are overuse or injury. Sometimes infections might also cause it.


Bursitis can also be connected to other health problems. These include tendonitis, arthritis, gout, thyroid disease, and diabetes.


What are the Symptoms of Bursitis?


Here are some of the most common symptoms of bursitis. But it’s important to remember that symptoms occur differently in each person. Symptoms can include:


● Limited motion

● Pain

● Redness and swelling in case the inflamed bursa is close to the surface of the skin

● Tenderness


Long-term (chronic) bursitis may include repeated attacks of tenderness, pain, and swelling. These may cause a limited range of motion in the affected joint and the deterioration of muscles.


The symptoms of bursitis may feel similar to other health problems. Always see a doctor for a correct diagnosis.


How is Bursitis Diagnosed?


Your doctor may ask about your health history and also conduct a physical exam. You may need tests like:


Aspiration: For this test, the doctor will use a thin needle to draw out fluid from the swollen bursa. The fluid is checked for gout or infection, as these causes can lead to bursitis.


X-ray: This test makes use of energy beams to take pictures of bones, internal tissues, and organs on film.


Ultrasound: This test utilises high-frequency sound waves to look at the tissues and internal organs.


MRI: This test uses a computer, large magnets, and radio waves to create detailed pictures of structures and organs within the body.


Blood tests: Lab tests may be conducted to rule out or confirm other conditions.


How is Bursitis Treated?


The treatment of any bursitis is dependent on whether it includes infection.


Septic bursitis: The bursa gets infected with bacteria resulting in swelling and pain. Treatment may include:


● The fluid is taken out using a needle.

● Antibiotics

Removal of the infected bursa (bursectomy) and surgical drainage

Aseptic bursitis: This inflammation is caused by strain injury or soft-tissue trauma. The bursa isn't infected. Treatment may include:

● R.I.C.E. or rest, ice, compression, and elevation.

● Injection (shot) of a steroid into the affected area to assist in easing swelling and pain

● Pain and anti-inflammatory medication

● Braces or splints in order to limit movement of the affected joint


What can I do to Prevent Bursitis?


Try following these measures to prevent bursitis:

● Start new sports or exercises slowly, gradually increasing the stress you put on your body.

● Take breaks regularly when doing repetitive tasks.

● When doing daily activities, always position your body correctly.

● Cushion “at risk” joints by using knee or elbow pads.

● Stop activities that are causing pain.

● Warm up before engaging in a sport, or before the start of exercise or before performing any repetitive movements.


When should I call a Doctor?


Call your physical therapist or doctor if you have any of the following:


● Trouble or Pain in moving, that’s affecting your regular daily activities

● Pain doesn’t get worse nor gets better with treatment

● A lump or bulge starts to develop at the affected joint

● Swelling or redness develops at the affected joint

● You have fever, night sweats, or chills.


If you’re in search of an experienced orthopedist in Bangalore who can help you in relieving you of the pain in your hamstring, elbow, knee, shoulder, hip, hand, ankle, back or neck, please get in touch with 1Health Medical Center. Our Orthopaedist will help you by diagnosing the problem and will also chart out the best treatment plan that will relieve you of the condition.

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