Bursitis is the inflammation of one or more bursae, or small sacs of synovial fluid, in the body. Bursae rest at the points where internal functionaries, like muscles and tendons, slide across bone. Healthy bursae create a smooth and almost frictionless gliding surface. With hundreds of them throughout the body they provide this surface for all motion, making movement normally painless. When bursitis takes hold, however, movement that relies on the inflamed bursa becomes rough and painful.
What causes bursitis?
Bursitis usually results from a repetitive movement or due to prolonged and excessive pressure. Patients who rest on their elbows for long periods or those who bend their elbows frequently and repetitively (for example, a custodian using a vacuum for hours at a time) can develop elbow bursitis, also called olecranon bursitis. Similarly in other parts of the body, repetitive use or frequent pressure can irritate a bursa and cause inflammation. The other main cause of bursitis is traumatic injury, which can cause swelling of the bursae. The swelling itself causes irritation because the sac will no longer fit in the small area between the bone and the functionary. When the bone begins to increase pressure on the bursa, bursitis ensues.
* Joint pain and tenderness
* Warmth over the affected joint
How is bursitis diagnosed?
Bursitis is typically identified by localized pain or swelling, tenderness, and pain with motion of the tissues in the affected area. X-ray testing can sometime detect calcifications in the bursa when bursitis has been chronic or recurrent.
Bursitis treatment is usually simple and includes:
* Resting and immobilizing the affected area
* Applying ice to reduce swelling
* Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve pain and reduce inflammation
How Can I Prevent Bursitis?
Bursitis can be prevented with a gradual buildup in activities, with limited force and limited repetitions. Stop what you are doing if unusual pain occurs. Try again later and if pain recurs, do not continue the activity that day.