Bursitis involves inflammation or irritation of the bursa. The bursa is a small-sized sac filled with lubricating fluid and positioned amidst tissues such as muscle, bone, tendons and the skin.
They help reduce friction, irritation and rubbing as well as allow the joints to smoothly move. Bursitis develops if a bursa is inflamed which results to pain and discomfort. The pain might gradually build up or can be abrupt and severe.
What are the causes?
Bursitis is often due to repetitive movements or direct, minor impact on a body part. In uncommon cases, it is brought about by a sudden, more serious injury.
Other possible causes of the condition include any of the following:
- Play or work activities that result to injury or overuse to the joint regions such as carpentry, gardening or shoveling
- Injury due to poor or incorrect posture
- Stress or strain on the soft tissues from abnormal or poorly positioned bone or joint
- Other conditions or disease such as gout or rheumatoid arthritis
Management of bursitis
The objective of treatment is to alleviate the pain and inflammation as well as preserving mobility and preventing disability.
The recommended treatment options might involve a combination of rest, splints, heat and cold application. The advanced treatment options include:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as naproxen or ibuprofen
- Corticosteroid injections administered by the doctor which work by rapidly reducing the pain and inflammation
- Physical therapy which includes range of motion exercises and splinting
- Surgery is the last resort if other treatment options fail
Most cases of bursitis generally settle without any treatment over a few weeks. A doctor should be consulted if the following are present:
- Pain that disrupts with daily activities or soreness that does not improve despite self-care measures
- Recurrence of bursitis
- Fever or the affected area appears swollen, red or warm
More Information / Disclaimer
The information posted on this page on bursitis is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage the indications of bursitis by taking a standard first aid course with Mississauga First Aid.