Bursitis...Bursa?! What the hell is that?

April 16, 2023

What is Bursitis?

Bursitis refers to the inflammation of the bursae, which are small fluid-filled sacs located between bones, tendons, muscles, and joints. These sacs act as cushions, reducing friction and facilitating smooth movement. When a bursa becomes inflamed, it can cause pain, tenderness, and swelling in the affected area.

Causes of Bursitis

Bursitis commonly occurs due to repetitive motions or prolonged pressure on a joint. Some common causes include:

• Repetitive activities: Regularly performing tasks that involve repetitive movements, such as gardening, painting, or playing certain sports, can increase the risk of bursitis.

• Joint overuse: Overusing a joint, especially without allowing adequate rest or recovery time, can lead to inflammation.

• Injury or trauma: Direct impact or injury to a joint can cause bursitis.

• Infection: Although rare, an infection in the bursa can also result in bursitis.

Common Places to Get Bursitis:

Bursitis can develop in various areas of the body, including:

• Shoulder: Shoulder bursitis often occurs due to repetitive overhead activities or injury.

• Elbow: Elbow bursitis, also known as "tennis elbow" or "student's elbow," can be caused by repetitive gripping or leaning on the elbow for extended periods.

• Hip: Hip bursitis may result from prolonged walking, running, or standing on hard surfaces.

• Knee: Knee bursitis can be caused by kneeling for long periods, such as in flooring or gardening work.

• Ankle: Ankle bursitis is typically associated with excessive pressure or repeated ankle movements.

Scans for Testing Bursitis:

To diagnose bursitis, healthcare professionals may recommend the following scans:

• X-ray: X-rays help rule out other conditions that may cause similar symptoms, such as fractures or arthritis.

• Ultrasound: Ultrasound imaging can reveal inflammation in the bursa and assess the severity of the condition.

• MRI: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) provides detailed images of the soft tissues and can help identify bursitis and any associated damage.

Treatment of Bursitis:

Treatment options for bursitis focus on reducing pain, inflammation, and promoting healing. Some common approaches include:

• Rest and activity modification: Avoiding activities that aggravate the affected area and allowing ample rest to promote healing.

• Ice and heat therapy: Applying ice packs to reduce inflammation and using heat therapy to enhance blood circulation and promote healing.

• Medications: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation.

• Physical therapy: Targeted exercises and stretches prescribed by a physiotherapist can strengthen the affected area, improve mobility, and prevent future episodes.

• Injections: In severe cases, corticosteroid injections into the bursa may be recommended to reduce inflammation and provide pain relief.

• Surgery: In rare instances where conservative treatments fail, surgical intervention may be necessary to remove the inflamed bursa.

Bursitis is a common condition characterised by the inflammation of the bursae, causing pain and discomfort. Understanding its causes, affected areas, diagnostic scans, and treatment options can help individuals manage and alleviate the symptoms effectively. If you suspect you may have bursitis, it is important to consult

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