Bursitis is a medical condition that is characterized by the inflammation of small sacs of synovial fluid in the joints. Synovial fluid is a viscous, yolk-like fluid found in the cavities of synovial joints which helps reduce friction between the joints. The bursas in the shoulders, elbows and knees are most commonly affected by this condition.
A bursa can become inflamed by repetitive movement and excessive pressure. Other factors that can lead to bursitis include infection and an underlying rheumatic condition. Physical trauma such as collisions and direct blows in the contact sports can cause inflammation of the bursas. Leaning your elbows on hard surfaces for a long time can also cause bursitis. Moreover, prolonged sitting on hard surfaces puts stress on the bursas in the buttocks, causing inflammation and pain.
Most Common Types Of Bursitis:
- Shoulder Bursitis
- Achilles Bursitis – Inflammation of sacs in heel bone.
- Prepatellar Bursitis – Inflammation of the bursas at the front of knees.
- Trochanteric Bursitis – Inflammation of sacs in the hip.
- Olecranon Bursitis – Inflammation of the bursas in the elbow.
Symptoms of Bursitis:
- Swelling in the joint, which can sometimes be large enough to restrict normal motion. A sufferer may feel mild to severe pain in the affected joint which can extend to the rest of the limb. The pain is worse during and after a physical activity.
- Stiffness, tenderness and warmth around an affected joint are also common in bursitis patients. If left untreated, bursitis can result in bone growth within the bursa, causing severe pain and disability.
An expert at i Physio Perth Physiotherapy Clinic, will diagnose bursitis with a physical exam and tests such as MRI and X-rays. He or she may also draw the fluid from the affected area with a needle and syringe under sterile conditions and send the samples to the laboratory for further testing to rule out other medical problems such as infections.
The treatment of any form of bursitis depends on whether or not it involves direct trauma.
Non-traumatic Onset Bursitis – can be treated with a combination of ice therapy, rest, elevation and compression. Anti-inflammatory drugs and pain medication are also prescribed to relieve the pain and reduce swelling. Stretching and strengthening exercises help restore the normal function of the affected limb and prevent reoccurrence of the injury in the future. Injecting cortisone into the swollen bursa also helps relieve pain and reduce inflammation. An expert at a physiotherapy clinic will not use a compression bandage to treat non-traumatic bursitis as it will create more friction on movement.
Traumatic Bursitis – often makes bursas to produce and drain pus in response to a direct blow, which often leads to infection. Infectious bursitis requires even further investigation and antibiotic therapy. Repeated removal of the infected fluid may be required to speed up the healing process. Once the inflammation of the swollen area has been reduced, advanced massage techniques can be employed to improve the blood circulation in the affected area. If the joint still does not improve after 4 to 5 months, you may need surgical therapy to relieve pressure on the bursa.
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