Bursitis occurs when the small bursae, or fluid-filled sacs cushioning the bones and other moving parts that help the joint move smoothly, become irritated or inflamed. Usually, this is the result of injury or overuse. Although it is often confused for tendonitis, bursitis is not the same. While tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendons that attach the muscles to the bone, bursitis involves inflammation of the bursae that cushion bones. Bursitis conditions vary and may be short-term (acute) after an injury or infection, or it may be long-term (chronic) and require ongoing care.
Do I Have Bursitis?
Pain is the first sign of trouble with bursitis, and you should see a doctor as soon as possible if you have disabling pain in the affected joint. To diagnose the condition, a fluid sample from the bursae may be necessary to rule out pain caused by an infection. Imaging tests may also diagnose bursitis.
Symptoms of bursitis include:
- Painful, swollen joints
- Rash or bruising in the affected area
- Sudden inability to move the joint
- Pain from pressure or exertion of the affected joint
Often, bursitis pain improves on its own through rest and protection from further damage. With proper treatment, most patients feel better within just a few weeks. Common treatments include applying warm compresses (or ice in the immediate aftermath of an injury, to reduce swelling), taking over-the-counter painkillers, or cushioning the affected joints. If these measures do not provide substantial relief, your doctor may recommend physical therapy, prescribed medication, assistive devices such as a cane to alleviate joint stress, or corticosteroid injections to relieve joint pain. Surgery is rarely recommended but may be necessary to drain or remove affected bursae.
Suffering From Pain?
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