Home Alternate Medicine What is Bursitis: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention, and Treatment

What is Bursitis: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention, and Treatment

Bursitis is a medical condition that develops when bursae, the fluid-sacs of our body that cushion the bones, tendons and muscles near the joints, become inflamed. These bursae sacs ease the friction within the moving parts of different joints in our body. Due to Bursitis, these sacs cause hindrance in the joint movement, affecting our day-to-day activities.

Bursitis is usually observed in the following body parts-

● Knee (Prepatellar Bursitis)

● Heel (Retrocalcaneal Bursitis)

● Shoulder

● Big toe

● Hip (Trochanteric Bursitis)

● Elbow (Olecranon bursitis)

It is common in these specific body parts because these joints perform the maximum movement in our body.

What Causes Bursitis?

Usually, Bursitis is caused by using a joint too much or by repeated pressure on an area. High-risk activities include throwing, gardening, raking, carpentry, shoveling, scrubbing, painting, tennis, golf and skiing. You may also get bursitis by standing or sitting the wrong way for a long time at home or work, or by not stretching enough before exercising. Sometimes, sudden injury can cause bursitis.

As you age, your tendons are less elastic and easier to tear, and they are not able to handle stress as well.

If there is a problem with the joint or joint structure (like legs that are different lengths or arthritis in any joint), it can put more stress on a bursa, leading to bursitis. stress or reactions to medicines or inflammation from other conditions like psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disorders, or gout, may also raise your risk. An infection, particularly with Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, may sometimes cause bursitis.

Types of bursitis

If Bursitis is around your kneecap, it is known as Prepatellar Bursitis. It might be due to:

● Bleeding in your bursae

● Staying on your knees for long intervals

● Repetitive bending of your knees

● Any sports-related activities

● Infection

If there is a pain in your hip joint, it is known as Trochanteric Bursitis. It might be due to:

● Arthritis

● Lying on your hips for long intervals

● Improper posture while standing or sitting

If there is pain in your heels (Retrocalcaneal Bursitis), it might be due to:

● Excessive running

● Jumping

● Brisk walking

● Repetitive movement of your feet

If there is a pain in your elbow (Olecranon bursitis), then that might be due to resting your elbow on a hard surface for long intervals.

What are the Symptoms of Bursitis?

If you have bursitis, the affected joint may:

● Feel achy or stiff

● Hurt more when you press on it or move it

● Look swollen and red

You need medical help, if there is:

● Sudden inability to move a joint

● A fever

● Disabling joint pain

● Sharp or shooting pain, particularly when you exercise or exert yourself

● Excessive redness, bruising, swelling, or a rash in the affected region

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What are the Risk Factors Associated with Bursitis?

Bursitis is mostly the problem of joint movement. Hence, people whose work revolves around excessive joint movement are prone to developing Bursitis.

Below are some of the risk factors of Bursitis:

1. Age. Bursitis gets more common with aging.

2. Hobbies or occupations: If your hobby or work needs repetitive pressure or motion on particular bursae, your risk of developing bursitis is greater. Examples include gardening, carpet laying, painting, tile setting and playing a musical instrument.

3. Other medical conditions. Some systemic diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and gout increase the risk of developing bursitis. Being overweight can also raise the risk of developing knee and hip bursitis.

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How to Prevent Bursitis?

Not every type of Bursitis can be prevented. However, you can take early precautions to avoid this problem.

The following precautions can be taken depending upon which joint is more prone to Bursitis:

● If you are kneeling or sitting quite often, use knee pads or cushions whenever you sit on a hard surface.

● Avoid sitting still for extended intervals. Maintain a healthy body weight.

● If you’ve just started exercising, do some warm-ups and stretches before and after to avoid bursitis .

● Always maintain proper form when you play any sports to avoid unnecessary injuries.

● Maintain a good posture irrespective of whether you are sitting, walking, standing, or running

● Avoid activities that can make your condition and movement worse.

● Try to bend your knees when you lift because failing to do so might put extra load on the bursae in your hips.

● If you are carrying heavy loads that put a load on the bursae in your shoulders, use a wheeled cart instead.

● Take frequent breaks when your task requires a lot of joint movement

● Use elbow braces if you are a tennis player or a golfer to avoid Olecranon bursitis (Bursitis in elbow).

● Muscle-strengthening, when Bursitis has occurred around the joint area, will primarily provide extra protection from injury. (exercise and muscle strengthening should be done once the Bursitis has subsided)

What are the Treatment Options for Bursitis?

Usually, Bursitis gets better on its own. For persistent bursitis , here are the following treatment methods:

● If it is a case of septic Bursitis (Bursitis due to infection in the skin), your doctor will most probably treat it with an antibiotic.

● Through injection (corticosteroid drug), inflammation in the bursae can be treated

● Exercise, stretching, or any other form of physical therapy is an excellent way to strengthen the muscle and ease the pain.

● It is very rare but Bursitis will sometimes require a small surgery to drain the inflamed bursae.

● If you find trouble walking, try to use a cane (walking stick) temporarily to help you move with ease.

Apart from this, some home remedies which you can try are:

● Avoid overusing the affected joint of the body and take as much rest as possible.

● For the first 48 hours, when you start observing the symptoms, use an ice-pack to observe any affected area to reduce inflammation.

● Take an over-the-counter medication, such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium, to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.

● If the affected joint area is near your legs, then use a cushion when sleeping and place it between and under your legs so that your legs can get some rest on a soft surface.

● Avoid those activities which can make your condition worse.

● Put a band or a brace to the affected joint to keep it at rest.

● Compression and elevation can be helpful if it is feasible to compress the area. Keep the area elevated above the heart to keep blood from pooling there with the help of an elastic bandage.

You can always consult with your doctor to take professional advice on how to improve your condition.

Take care of your body

Don’t hesitate to take professional help as necessary. Bursitis is not a fatal condition, but taking early precautions whenever you see any of the above symptoms, will help you avoid unnecessary pain.

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