Bursitis: What are some available treatment option?

Bursitis is a condition that affects the joints and causes discomfort. It happens when bursae, which are fluid-filled sacs that function as a cushion between bones, tendons, and muscles, become inflamed.

In the human body, there are about 150 bursae. They lubricate and cushion the points where bones, tendons, and muscles meet near the joints.

Bursitis causes these bursae to become inflamed, making movement or pressure on the affected region unpleasant.

Bursitis can be caused by overuse, injury, or inflammation caused by gout or rheumatoid arthritis. Bursitis can manifest itself in a variety of ways, one of which is tennis elbow.

The parts of the body where a person might get bursitis, the symptoms of the ailment, and how to cure it are all covered in this article.

Types

someone with bursitis

Bursitis causes pain in the area where the bursa is inflamed.

Bursitis can affect any bursa, although it is more frequent in the following areas:

  • thighs
  • elbows
  • ankles
  • hips
  • knees
  • buttocks
  • shoulders

People may refer to various kinds of bursitis by other names. Tennis elbow, clergyman’s knee, and housemaid’s knee are all common terms.

Causes

Bursitis can develop as a result of an injury, an infection, or a pre-existing illness like gout, which causes crystals to grow in the bursa.

Injury

Physical trauma can irritate and inflame the tissue inside the bursa. An impact injury or overuse of the joints, tendons, or muscles around the bursa can cause this trauma. Repetitive actions are the most common cause of overuse.

The cause of bursitis might help pinpoint which part of the body is afflicted. The following are some of the possible causes:

  • Elbow: Bursitis is a common problem among tennis players and golfers. Repetitive bending of the elbow can lead to injury and inflammation.
  • Knee: Repeated kneeling can cause injury and swelling to the bursae in the knee area.
  • Shoulder: Repeated overhead lifting or reaching upward can cause bursitis in the shoulder.
  • Ankle: Injury to the ankle can result from walking too much and with the wrong shoes.
  • Buttocks: The bursae in the lower pelvis can become inflamed after sitting on a hard surface for a long time, such as on a bicycle. A person may notice discomfort in the buttocks and legs.
  • Hips: A person can develop hip bursitis due to excessive running, stair climbing, or standing for extended periods.

Infection

Infectious bursitis is more common in bursae that are closer to the skin’s surface, such as those around the elbow. A cut on the skin provides an entry point for microorganisms.

Infectious bursitis is caused by repetitive stress and misuse of joints around bursae, just like other types of bursitis. People with immune system disorders, on the other hand, may be at a higher risk of getting bursitis as a result of an infection.

Health conditions

Crystals are more prone to occur inside the bursa in people with specific health disorders. The bursa is irritated by the crystals, which causes it to swell. Gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and scleroderma are among conditions that can cause bursitis.

Treatment

The severity of a person’s symptoms will determine the treatment for bursitis.

Self-treatment

With the use of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and basic self-care strategies, a person may be able to manage their bursitis at home.

Self-care usually involves:

  • Protecting the affected area: Padding can protect the affected bursae from painful contact.
  • Resting: Not using the joints in the affected area unless necessary can help reduce inflammation.
  • Applying ice packs: Placing towel-wrapped ice packs on the affected area can help reduce pain and inflammation. A person should never place ice directly onto their skin.
  • Raising the affected area: Elevating an affected area reduces blood pooling and may help lessen inflammation.
  • Taking pain relievers: Ibuprofen is effective as a pain reliever, and it may also help reduce inflammation.

Medical treatment

Although most cases of bursitis may be treated at home, severe bursitis may necessitate the use of prescription drugs.

Steroids

To ease the symptoms, the doctor may inject steroids into the afflicted area. Steroids inhibit the production of prostaglandin, a substance that causes inflammation in the body.

Doctors, on the other hand, should use caution when prescribing steroids. If taken for an extended period of time, these medicines can raise blood pressure and increase the risk of infection.

Furthermore, while steroid injections reduce a person’s symptoms, they may create a delay in detecting other bursae-related diseases. As a result, doctors may miss the best moment for some surgical procedures.

Antibiotics

If a bacterial infection is confirmed by a fluid test, the doctor will most likely prescribe antibiotics. In most cases, oral antibiotics will be recommended, but in more severe cases, intravenous antibiotics may be required.

A person may require surgery to drain the afflicted bursa in rare cases.

Symptoms

One or more of the following symptoms may be present in a person with bursitis:

  • pain that increases with movement or pressure
  • tenderness, even without movement
  • swelling
  • loss of movement

Septic bursitis occurs when an infection causes bursa inflammation. A person with septic bursitis may have the following additional symptoms:

  • fever
  • skin discoloration in the affected area
  • the affected area feeling hot to the touch

When to see a doctor

Many people treat bursitis at home, but if the symptoms are more severe, they should seek medical help.

More severe symptoms include:

  • joint pain that prevents all movement
  • pain lasting longer than 2 weeks
  • sharp, shooting pains
  • excessive swelling, bruising, or skin discoloration
  • fever

  • an X-ray to check for broken or fractured bones
  • blood tests to assess for rheumatoid arthritis
  • CT scan or MRI scan to look for possible tendon or joint damage

Prevention

People can take several steps to help prevent bursitis. These include:

  • Protecting vulnerable parts of the body: Knee pads can help people who kneel a lot, and elbow braces can help tennis and golf players. Athletes and anyone who walk a lot should buy a good pair of walking or running shoes.
  • Taking breaks during tasks: Aside from taking regular pauses, a person can prevent bursitis by shifting movements to use different portions of the body.
  • Managing body weight: An individual who is overweight may have higher joint stress. A person’s weight can be managed to lower the pressure on their joints and reduce the risk of bursitis.
  • Warming up before exercise: Warm up for at least 5–10 minutes before engaging in strenuous exercise. Walking at a good pace, running slowly, or riding an exercise bike are all options.
  • Performing muscle-strengthening exercises: Strengthening the muscles in the area where bursitis has developed, particularly surrounding the joint, can help to protect the area from further harm.

Conclusion

Bursitis is a condition in which a bursa, a fluid-filled sac that protects joints, becomes inflamed. Bursitis most commonly affects the elbows, knees, hips, and shoulders.

Bursitis can develop when a person repeatedly applies pressure on or moves these joints. Tennis elbow, which is caused by repeatedly bending the elbow, and clergyman’s knee, which is caused by frequent kneeling, are two common types of bursitis.

Bursitis can be caused by impact injuries, and infections can lead to septic bursitis.

Most types of bursitis will go away after a period of rest. Some people, however, may require medicine or even surgery to alleviate their problems.

Protecting weak joints, taking breaks during repetitive jobs, and keeping a moderate weight can all assist to prevent bursitis.

Sources

  • https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/bursitis/
  • https://www.arthritis.org/diseases/bursitis
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/152120
  • https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/hip-bursitis
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470331/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK513340/