What Is Bursitis?

Bursa are fluid filled sacs, which cushion pressure and lubricate points between the bones, tendons, and muscles that sit near the joints. This cushioning and lubrication allows our joints to move easily. There are approximately 160 bursa in the body. They vary in size depending on the individual and the location in the body. Bursitis is a condition in which the bursae become inflamed.

Parts of the body which can be affected by bursitis:
It is most commonly found in shoulder, elbow & hip

Causes of bursitis:
Traumatic injury
Repetitive bursa irritation/overuse injury
Systemic disease (some systemic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis can make patients more susceptible to developing bursitis)

Symptoms:
Localised Pain – which increase with certain movements or when with pressure
Tenderness may be felt without movement
Swelling
Loss of movement/stiffness
Warm feeling in or around the affected area
Increased pain at night

Diagnosis:
A diagnosis may include investigating and ruling out any other possible causes
Physical examination
Medical history
X-rays may be used to rule out other injuries
Diagnostic ultrasound

Treatment:
Initial treatment is based around reducing inflammation and pain, guided by your Physiotherapist – this may include pain-relieving medication, cold packs, gentle mobilisations and rest. As the inflammation settles, management will focus on the initial cause of the pain, and restoring mobility and strength.

Take home message:
It is important to know that bursitis does not cause joint deformity, but it can cause significant pain and restrict mobility. Bursitis is a common condition, and Physios see a lot of this! In my experience, it is important to seek treatment and management through a Physiotherapist sooner rather than later! If it’s not addressed in the early stages of the condition, it can become more difficult to manage conservatively. If you are experinceing pain or injury book in today at Bend + Mend in Sydney’s CBD.

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