What Is Bursitis?

07 Feb What Is Bursitis?

About Bursitis

Bursitis is an inflammation of the joints. It is usually caused by repeating the same physical motions over and over. These repeated motions weaken the bursa sac, which is a fluid-filled sac that prevents friction between tissues, bones, and muscles.

Bursitis can be mild or severe. It primarily affects the joints in the knees, hips, and ankles.

Symptoms of Bursitis

Pain in the joints can have many causes. If you have bursitis, you will probably experience:

• Sudden, severe pain when stretching a joint
• Limited range of motion in a limb
• Stiff, swollen joint
• Redness at the joint

In severe cases, you may also have:

• High fever
• Swelling and warmth in the joint
• Pain that lasts for several weeks
• Loss of overall energy and strength

What Causes Bursitis?

Any activity that involves the same repeated pressure on a joint can cause bursitis. You can develop it from playing the same sports consistently, gardening, shoveling, doing carpentry, throwing, or painting.

You can also develop bursitis from sitting or standing in the same position for extended hours. Failure to stretch thoroughly while exercising is another common cause.

Bursitis is most common in people over 40. As you age, your tendons are less flexible and less able to handle the stress of repetitive motions.

How to Treat Bursitis

The first step in treating joint pain is to stop the activity that causes it. Rest the affected limb, and keep it raised if possible. Try these other steps to control the pain and swelling:

• Use a brace, band, or wrap to immobilize the joint.
• If the affected joint is in the foot or leg, use a cane or crutch.
• Use ice packs to reduce swelling and pain.
• Take over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medicines.

If you don’t feel better after a week or two, consult your doctor. A doctor can prescribe medications to lower the inflammation quickly. Your podiatrist can also help you with physical therapy to regain motion in the joint. If you have septic bursitis, you may need antibiotics and other treatments.

Is Bursitis Serious?

Left untreated, it can lead to serious, painful complications, including loss of mobility and rupture of the bursa.
In the most severe cases, untreated bursitis can cause osteomyelitis, also known as a bone infection or septic bursitis. This is an extremely dangerous condition that can last several months, even with treatment. If you suspect you have septic bursitis, contact a doctor at once.

How To Prevent Bursitis

• Maintain a healthy weight to reduce pressure on the joints.
• Don’t sit still for extended periods of time. If you must sit, take frequent stretching breaks.
• Avoid making repetitive motions. When you do, take breaks.
• If you play sports, add some variety to your training and exercise routines. Repetitive motions are the main cause of bursitis.
• Start slowly when taking up a new sport or physical activity.
• Avoid kneeling for lengthy periods.
• Use proper posture when walking.
• Use cushions when you kneel.

Do You Have Aching Joints?

If you suspect your painful joints might be bursitis, contact Shuman Podiatry & Sports Medicine today. At our Loudoun County clinic, we offer the latest diagnostics and treatment plans for all foot and leg conditions. Don’t live with the pain and complications of bursitis. Make an appointment for your good foot health today.

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