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Bursitis: An Overview

Bursitis: An Overview

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Bursitis is a painful condition that affects the small, fluid-filled sacs — called bursae — that cushion the bones, tendons, and muscles near your joints. It occurs when these bursae become inflamed. This inflammation or irritation can happen all over your body, as these sacs are present throughout, easing rubbing and friction between tissues such as bones, muscles, tendons, and skin.

The most common locations for bursitis are in the shoulder, elbow, and hip. However, it can also occur near the knee, heel, and the base of your big toe. Bursitis often happens near joints that perform frequent repetitive motion.

The most common causes of bursitis are repetitive motions or positions that put pressure on the bursae around a joint. Examples include throwing a baseball or lifting something over your head repeatedly, leaning on your elbows for long periods, and extensive kneeling for tasks such as laying carpet or scrubbing floors. Other causes include injury or trauma to the affected area, inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and infection.

Bursitis is common in adults, especially after age 40. High-risk activities include gardening, raking, carpentry, shoveling, painting, scrubbing, playing tennis, golf, skiing, and throwing. You can also get bursitis by sitting or standing the wrong way for a long time at work or home, or by not stretching enough before you exercise. Sudden injury can sometimes cause bursitis.

Symptoms

If you have bursitis, the affected joint might feel achy or stiff, hurt more when you move it or press on it, and look swollen and red. In most cases, bursitis pain goes away within a few weeks with proper treatment, but recurrent flare-ups of bursitis are common.

Treatment

Treatment typically involves resting the affected joint and protecting it from further trauma. In some cases, bursitis can be caused by a bacterial infection and should be treated with antibiotics, ice, and rest.

Prevention

While not all types of bursitis can be prevented, you can reduce your risk and the severity of flare-ups by changing the way you do certain tasks. For example, using kneeling pads can reduce the pressure on your knees if your job or hobby requires a lot of kneeling.

Conclusion

Bursitis is a common condition that can cause significant discomfort. However, with proper treatment and preventative measures, it can be managed effectively. If you experience symptoms of bursitis, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

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April 2024
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