What is Bursitis?


Bursitis occurs when a bursa becomes inflamed. Bursa is a sac filled with fluid, found near the bones and between muscle attachments in various joints. The job of the bursa is to lubricate and cushion the movements of muscles and tendons over bone. Commonly, bursitis affects the shoulder joint. But, the knee and elbow joints can also develop bursitis.

Causes of Bursitis
There are four common causes of bursitis:

  • Injury or trauma can inflame a bursa.
  • Overuse and repetitive strain on joints can lead to bursitis.
  • Conditions such as gout and rheumatoid arthritis can inflame the bursa.
  • Bursae can be infected by common bacteria.

Symptoms of Bursitis

  • Pain near the affected joint.
  • Inflamed bursae can cause swelling and redness near the surface of the skin.
  • Shoulder bursitis can reduce joint movement, resulting in atrophy of muscles.

Diagnosing Bursitis
Before bursitis is diagnosed, other conditions such as cellulitis, synovitis, internal bleeding, joint injuries and muscle injuries need to be ruled out. If the affected joint is swollen, red and hot, it may be due to bacterial infection. It is important to know if infection is the cause of bursitis because this situation needs special treatment.

Treating Bursitis
Non-infected bursitis can be treated with ice packs, a splint, proper rest and anti-inflammatory medicines like acetylsalicylic acid. Ultrasound treatment can also be helpful. To bring down inflammation, steroid injections and corticosteroids are used. For bacterial infections, antibiotics are helpful. You should exercise regularly to recover from bursitis. Ask your physiotherapist for a detailed exercise regimen that takes into account your joint condition and muscle atrophy. Sometimes, the bursa fluid needs to be removed. This is done with a syringe and needle in a sterile condition. This procedure is usually carried out in the doctor’s clinic.

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