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What is Bursitis?

There are over 150 bursae (bur-SEE) located throughout the human body, and each bursa contains a small amount of a jelly-like, lubricating substance.  Bursae are located between bones, tendons, joints, and muscles, including at the shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, and heels. In each location, bursae and serve as cushions to help lessen friction.

Bursitis (bur-SY-tis) is a fairly common condition that occurs when one or more of the bursae become irritated or inflamed, resulting in painful pressure or painful movement at the site.  The affected joint may feel stiff and achy and may look red and swollen.  The area may hurt more when you move or press on it.

The most common locations for bursitis are in the shoulder, hip, and elbow, although bursitis can also occur in the knee, ankle, buttocks, heel, and at the base of the big toe.  The inflammation of the bursae is often near a joint that is involved in frequent, repetitive motions, or at a position that applies pressure on the bursae at a particular joint.

When the elbow is affected by bursitis, it is commonly called , although it is not necessarily related to tennis.  In the U.S., between 1 and 3 percent of Americans will be affected, and half of all tennis players will experience tennis elbow, typically between 30 and 50 years of age.  Tennis elbow can also result from daily activities, such as sports activities with a high frequency of throwing.

Factors for Bursitis

Prevention

Follow these tips for time-honored approaches to lessen and prevent bursitis flare-ups:

Treatments for Bursitis

Most patients respond well to nonsurgical management of bursitis using these approaches:

 

 

 

 

 

However, the number of injections should be limited, since prolonged corticosteroid injections can damage surrounding tissues.  Steroids may also raise the patient’s blood pressure when used too long, and the risk of infection is increased with steroid use.

 

 

Surgical treatments:  In rare cases, when bursitis has not resolved within 6 to 12 months with nonsurgical treatment, surgery may be needed to remove the damaged part of a tendon in order to relieve the pain.  On a positive note, 80 to 95% of bursitis patients recover without surgery

Has the pain of bursitis interrupted your daily routine?  Our highly skilled physical therapists are here to help!  Call us at 1 (800) 481-4582 today.

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