Bursitis. It’s a word you may have heard, but do you actually know what it is?
Bursitis is a condition that involves the bursae. You can find these small, fluid-filled sacs near joints, which are areas where bones come together. Their job is to cushion joints.
A great example of bursae in action occurs whenever you prop your elbows on a table. These small cushions keep the bones from pressing too hard against your skin, so the action remains comfortable.
At least 1 in 10,000 people end up with bursitis in their knees or elbows each year, but you have more than 100 bursae in your body that can develop the condition. Fortunately, it’s most common in specific areas and often causes telltale symptoms.
Thomas F. Saylor, MD, of Orthopaedic Care Specialists in North Palm Beach, Florida, has more than 20 years of experience diagnosing and treating orthopaedic conditions, including bursitis. In this blog, he explains what bursitis is, what its symptoms are, and how it’s treated.
Bursitis develops when bursae become inflamed. Several things can trigger this inflammation, such as:
In most cases, bursitis causes symptoms that begin early on. They can either be acute or become a chronic problem.
As we mentioned above, any bursa in the body can develop bursitis. However, it’s most common in the shoulders, elbows, knees, hips, and feet. When symptoms develop, they occur in the affected joint.
Telltale signs of bursitis often include:
Bursitis symptoms can even limit movement, depending on the location, and often worsen at night.
Since bursitis involves a joint, along with pain, stiffness, and swelling, people often confuse the condition with arthritis. However, an experienced orthopaedist like Dr. Saylor can usually diagnose your condition by discussing your medical history and performing a physical exam.
Sometimes, Dr. Saylor also orders blood tests or fluid analysis from the inflamed bursa to determine the specific cause of your pain and inflammation. For example, bacterial infections are a common cause of bursitis.
After reaching a diagnosis, Dr. Saylor can create a treatment strategy to ease inflammation and pain. Common treatments for bursitis include:
In addition to treating bursitis, Dr. Saylor also works with you to create a prevention plan to avoid recurring problems. This might involve physical therapy to strengthen muscles in the affected area or behavior modification to avoid putting too much pressure on the affected bursa. For example, Dr. Saylor could recommend using a cushion under your knees if you kneel frequently.
Do you have joint pain? Dr. Saylor can give you a thorough evaluation and discuss your next steps. To learn more, call 561-260-5993 to book an appointment with Orthopaedic Care Specialists today.