Bursitis is a joint disease that is especially common in the hip, knees, shoulder, and elbow. It occurs when the fluid-filled sacs (bursae) that cushion joints become inflamed, causing pain and stiffness in the affected joint. More than 100 bursae are located throughout the body and serve to reduce friction caused by muscle and tendon movement at joints.
The vast majority of bursitis cases are due to repetitive stress or overuse. Trauma, infection, and certain types of arthritis can also cause bursitis.
Joints Most Commonly Affected by Bursitis
Your bursitis symptoms may vary depending on which bursae around a joint are affected. Bursitis most commonly occurs in joints such as:
Bursitis is a common cause of hip pain, especially in active, middle-aged women. Runners and cyclists are particularly susceptible to hip bursitis. Poor posture and obesity, as well as a history of falling or bumping into things with the hip, can increase your risk of developing bursitis.
Bursitis in the knee is common among runners and those who kneel for prolonged periods of time (such as carpenters, roofers, tilers, plumbers, gardeners, and housecleaners). Tight muscles and improper stretching can trigger knee bursitis, as can being overweight. “Goosefoot” is a type of knee bursitis involving the three hamstring tendons, which splay out over the shin, resembling the foot of a goose.
A common cause of shoulder pain, bursitis often occurs along with rotator cuff injuries such as tendonitis or impingement. Athletes who perform repetitive overarm movements (like swimmers, as well as baseball or basketball players) are particularly susceptible to shoulder bursitis, as are people in certain professions such as painters and musicians.
Swelling at the tip of the elbow is the first sign of elbow bursitis. As the swelling grows, pain occurs, which ultimately restricts your range of motion. Trauma to the elbow or prolonged leaning on the elbow can trigger bursitis.
When to See a Doctor
Bursitis causes pain and stiffness at the affected joint, just like osteoarthritis does. However, the following signs and symptoms of bursitis may help you distinguish between the two:
- Pain that feels as though it’s occurring outside rather than inside the joint
- Pain that comes on suddenly and is intense, at least initially
- Pain that worsens at night
- Pain when the joint is at rest and pressure is applied to it, as well as pain when in motion
If your pain is significant or interferes with your daily activities, it’s time to see a doctor.
It’s also important to be sure that what you’re dealing with is in fact bursitis. Joint pain and swelling accompanied by bruising or a rash in the area and/or fever may indicate you have an infection that needs immediate treatment. An orthopedic physician is the best person to identify the issue if you suspect bursitis.
Another reason to seek medical attention for your bursitis is the likelihood of recurrences. Although bursitis may go away with proper self-care within a couple weeks, it’s critical that you address your bursitis properly the first time, as well as learn how to prevent recurrences. Chronic bursitis can cause the bursae to thicken, which can restrict your mobility and weaken muscles in the area.
After you are properly diagnosed with the help of diagnostic imaging, a blood test, or needle biopsy, if necessary, a customized treatment plan can help alleviate your symptoms, promote fast healing, and help prevent recurrences. Medication, rest, and icing the area are typical treatments for bursitis. Physical therapy may help you recover range of motion lost to bursitis.
Bursitis Treatment in Naples, FL
The orthopedic professionals at the Joint Replacement Institute in Naples, Florida, are experienced at diagnosing and treatment bursitis, arthritis, and other diseases and disorders affecting your joints. Call (239) 261-2663 to schedule a visit or request an appointment now.