When you’re in pain, everyone has an opinion. Maybe it’s a stress fracture. Maybe it’s tennis elbow. Maybe it’s a muscle or tendon tear. Many things may cause them: trauma, an underlying condition such as arthritis, overuse, or a sports injury. However, regardless of its cause, it’s crucial to learn to recognize symptoms to get an accurate diagnosis.

In this blog, we’re providing an overview of bursitis. What is it? How do you know if you’re suffering from it? What can you do to treat it?

What is Bursitis?

In every human joint, there are lubricated fluid-filled sacs that serve as cushioning between the bones and between bone and muscle. Together with cartilage, they allow for smooth movement of the joints. When these sacs become inflamed, the condition is known as bursitis.

What causes bursitis?

Inflammation can be a result of trauma, overuse, or infection. If it is caused by infection, it’s known as septic bursitis.

Bursitis Symptoms

A person may develop bursitis in any joint. The most common symptoms of bursitis include:

  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Skin feels warm to the touch
  • Pain when doing repetitive movements
  • Pain when starting to move after a period of inactivity

Depending on where in the body bursitis occurs, the person could experience additional symptoms. Also, the nature of a person’s occupation or hobbies could increase the likelihood of developing bursitis.

Bursitis Risk Factors

Bursitis is more likely in patients who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, gout, diabetes, cancer, or HIV. In addition, activities with repetitive movements increase the risk of suffering from bursitis. Some of the most common occupations that may result in bursitis include:

  • Construction
  • Gardening/landscaping
  • Dancing
  • Factory work
  • Textiles industry
  • Professional sports

Bursitis is also more likely to occur in people who do repetitive motions during exercise without taking an adequate amount of time to rest. Stretching before exercise will also reduce the likelihood of inflammation of the bursa.

Types of Bursitis

Shoulder Bursitis

Inflammation of the shoulder bursa will cause pain to radiate down the arms; sometimes all the way down to the person’s wrists. This type of bursitis is often the result of lifting heavy objects without proper form or repetitive movements.

Elbow Bursitis

Repetitive movements, osteoarthritis, and trauma can result in inflamed bursa in the elbows. The medical term for it is Olecranon Bursitis, and it’s the most common type to get infected due to cuts and scrapes.

Hip Bursitis

When the inflammation is in the hip area, the patient often feels pain radiating to the groin, and/or thighs, and buttocks. It’s most common in women and patients of advanced age.

Ischogluteal Bursitis

This is also known as Ischial Bursitis and occurs at the base of the pelvis. This results in pain in the buttocks, and it’s often the result of prolonged sitting on hard surfaces, poor core stability, or sports with repetitive movement of the hamstring tendon.

Knee Bursitis

Knee bursitis is a result of too much pressure on the knees: Jobs that require a person to spend extended periods of time on them or people who are obese. It can also be the result of not stretching properly (or at all) before exercising.

Achilles Bursitis

Rheumatoid arthritis, ill-fitting shoes, gout, or a sudden increase in running or jumping are all causes of Achilles Bursitis. In addition to the symptoms listed above, the top layer of skin may wear away.

Diagnosing Bursitis

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms described above, your medical provider will ask for detailed information regarding your symptoms, job duties, exercise of preference, and family history. In addition, he or she may order an MRI and/or take a sample of the fluid inside your bursa.

Bursitis Treatment

Once diagnosed, treatment options will depend on the person’s lifestyle. If the patient is overweight or obese, losing weight will be essential to prevent the condition from reoccurring. If the patient is an athlete, the training schedule or form may have to be modified. If the injury is a result of repetitive movement, the person may require modified work accommodations.

If bursitis was caused by infection, your doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics.

For short-term pain relief, the patient may receive anti-inflammatory medication or cortisone injections.

A more sustainable solution includes physical therapy and exercises to help strengthen muscles around the injured area. This will help relieve stress on the joints.

Surgery may be recommended in very rare cases (and as a last resort) to drain the inflamed bursa.

Bursitis Home Remedies

Home remedies to treat bursitis include:

  • Icing the affected area during the first 48 hours of injury
  • Over the counter pain relievers
  • Rest, even if you’re an over-enthusiastic athlete, resting is essential for healing
  • Changing sleeping position to alleviate pressure on the affected joint

Bursitis Recovery Time

Bursitis usually resolves itself within a couple of weeks of conservative treatment. Depending on the severity of the condition, your doctor may recommend physical therapy to ease you back into your regular activities. These exercises will vary according to the location of the injured joint.

If you suffer from bacterial bursitis, you’ll also need to take antibiotics.

Bursitis Complications

If symptoms don’t improve despite rest and conservative treatment, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Left untreated, bursitis could result in the following complications:

  • Reduced range of motion
  • Atrophy of the muscles
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Tendon rupture
  • Infection

How to Prevent Bursitis

In order to prevent bursitis from occurring, pay attention to the following steps:

1. Use proper technique. You can learn what applies to your sport of preference by hiring a coach or doing research online.

2. Wear appropriate shoes. This applies to sports as well as occupation. If you’re standing or walking all day at work, have a limp, or play any sports, proper footwear is essential to protect your joints.

3. If you feel unusual pain, stop what you’re doing. If you’re at work, ask for ergonomic equipment or modified job duties. If you’re exercising, take time off and consult with your doctor.

Request an Appointment at The Orthopedic Clinic Today

At The Orthopedic Clinic, we want you to live your life in full motion. If you believe you’re suffering from bursitis, let us help you get back to doing the things you love.

Call us at (386) 255-4596 to schedule an appointment.