Bursitis is a painful condition characterized by inflammation of the bursa, leading to painful swelling, typically in surrounding joints. A bursa is a closed, fluid-filled sac that cushions the bones, tendons, and muscles near your joints. The condition commonly occurs in the shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, and feet when the bursae become inflamed.

Injury, overexertion, or repetitive motion can lead to inflammation in the bursae and lead to bursitis. It can cause tenderness, pain, swelling, and restricted movement in the affected joint. It is also associated with other health conditions, including arthritis, gout, tendonitis, and diabetes.

The treatment for bursitis involves proper rest, medications, and prevention from further trauma. In most cases, bursitis pain goes away within a few weeks with appropriate treatment, but surgery might be required in severe cases. 

Types of Bursitis

Your body has over 150 bursae, and bursitis can happen in any of them. Typically, bursitis arises in joints subjected to repetitive movements or areas under significant pressure. Common types of bursitis include:

  • Shoulder bursitis results from inflammation in the subacromial bursae in the shoulder, causing pain and restricting shoulder mobility.
  • Elbow bursitis, or miner’s elbow, occurs due to inflammation of the olecranon bursa located between the skin and bones of the elbow.
  • Kneecap bursitis or prepatellar bursitis occurs in the bursa in front of your kneecap (patella), causing pain and swelling in the knee. 
  • Pes anserine bursitis is inflammation in the bursa between the shin bone and the hamstring muscles' three tendons on the inside of the knee.
  • Hip Bursitis or trochanteric bursitis is when inflammation happens in the bursa near your hip joint. Common causes of hip bursitis include injury, overuse, spinal abnormalities, arthritis, or surgery. 
  • Feet Bursitis can happen in various parts of the foot, including the heel, big toe, and ball of the feet. Posterior Achilles tendon bursitis occurs in the bursa located between the skin of the heel and the Achilles tendon.  

Causes of Bursitis

Common causes of bursitis include:

  • Sudden injury
  • Repetitive motions
  • Certain medical conditions like arthritis, gout, tendonitis, and diabetes
  • Poor posture
  • Positions that put pressure on specific parts of the body

Specific activities or positions affect particular body parts and lead to different types of bursitis. For instance, kneeling would affect the knee, and throwing a baseball would affect the shoulder.

Symptoms of Bursitis

Bursitis symptoms in the affected area may vary depending on the type. Common symptoms of bursitis include:

  • Pain in the affected joint
  • Swelling in the affected joint
  • Limited movement in the affected joint
  • Tenderness

Diagnosis of Bursitis

The diagnosis process of bursitis includes physical examination and imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis and find the extent of the damage. The physical examination includes the examination of the affected joint. Diagnostic tests for bursitis include: 

  • Imaging tests, including X-ray, MRI, and ultrasound, to take images of the internal tissues, affected bones, and organs.
  • Aspiration is conducted if infection is suspected. The procedure involves using a thin needle to remove fluid from the swollen bursa to check for infection as the cause of bursitis.
  • Blood tests to detect infection and to confirm or rule out other conditions.

Treatment of Bursitis

Mild bursitis typically improves on its own. Initial measures include rest, hot-ice therapy, and pain relievers. Alternative treatment options include:

  • Medication such as antibiotics can help if the bursal inflammation is infected.
  • Physical therapy or targeted exercises can enhance muscle strength in the affected region, reduce pain, and minimize the recurrence of bursitis.
  • Corticosteroid injections into the affected bursa can help alleviate pain and inflammation. 
  • Physical  therapy includes using assistive devices like a walking cane or braces to help alleviate pressure on the affected area temporarily.
  • Surgery is required in severe cases either to drain the inflamed bursa surgically or for complete removal of the affected bursa. Various surgical procedures are used for different types of bursitis—for instance, hip surgery and knee surgery for hip bursitis and knee bursitis, respectively. 

Treatment for Bursitis in Maryland

Bursitis can be treated with proper care and medical attention. Dr. Ulric Bigby specializes in both non-surgical and surgical treatments for bursitis and offers personalized care and guidance to facilitate recovery.

Schedule your consultation online or get in touch with Dr. Bigby at one of his three locations:

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