What is Bursitis?
Bursitis is an inflammatory condition of the bursa. Bursae are fluid filled sacs which lubricate moving parts within the body. This reduces friction between the two adjoining structures, which are commonly tendons, muscles and joints. Common locations for bursitis are in the hips, knees, shoulders and elbows. They can also be found in the shin, heel and base of the big toe.
Common causes of bursitis are from an injury, repeated pressure and overuse. Rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and gout can also contribute to its development.
Associated symptoms can include:
- localised pain
- swelling and inflammation
- joint stiffness causing restricted range of motion
- reddening of skin around the affected areaBursitis will commonly be diagnosed by a doctor or practitioner and is based on a physical examination and investigating the exhibiting symptoms.
It can also include:
- An ultrasound or X-ray of the affected area to rule out other possible causes, such as bony spurs (abnormal areas) or arthritis
- Aspiration, in which fluid is taken from the swollen bursa and evaluated under a microscope, to rule out gout or infection
- Blood tests to screen for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes
If the bursitis is diagnosed as being linked to an infection, then the health practitioner will most likely consider a course of medication as the best cure for it. If the bursitis has been caused by trauma or repetitive movement/pressure, then osteopathic treatment will aim to help alleviate the symptoms as much as possible while the healing process takes place. The focus of this treatment would be to relieve the pressure on the joint and bursa in question and address any related muscular weakness or imbalance with prescribed exercises to assist with this problem. In severe cases, your osteopath may refer you to a specialist to administer a corticosteroid injection to reduce the pain caused from the bursitis.
To avoid a bursitis from reoccurring you should:
- Warm up before exercise and stretch to cool down afterwards
- Avoid activities that aggravate the problem
- Rest post activity
- Cushion your joints to avoid prolonged pressure and trauma