Bursitis: Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

What Is Bursitis?

Inside your joint capsules are small fluid-filled sacs called bursae that help cushion your bones and soft tissues as they move within and around them. When joints get overused, strained, or are injured, this can irritate the bursae causing them to become inflamed and swell with extra fluid which then puts pressure on surrounding tissue.

What Are the Different Types of Bursitis?

Because bursae are located throughout the body, the condition can pop up pretty much anywhere. That being said, there are a number of different types that focus on certain areas. Here, in brief, are five:

  • Trochanteric Bursitis: the inflammation of outside hip (greater trochanter) bursae.
  • Olecranon Bursitis: the inflammation of elbow bursae, usually caused by an injury.
  • Pes Anserine Bursitis: the inflammation of the bursae on the inside of the knees.
  • Prepatellar Bursitis: the inflammation of bursae in the patella, or front of the kneecap.
  • Subacromial Bursitis: inflammation of bursae between rotator cuff tendons and bone.

What Parts of the Body Does Bursitis Affect?

As mentioned above, Bursitis can occur anywhere there are bursae fluid sacs. And, in case you’re wondering there are 150+ within the human body. Remember, they act as a kind of lubricant in joint capsules to protect joints, muscles, bones, and tendons. The four most common areas for bursitis are listed below.

  • Hip Bursitis
  • Knee Bursitis
  • Shoulder Bursitis
  • Elbow Bursitis

What Are the Symptoms?

Painful, achy, and stiff joints. For some, it grows over time, while others experience the pain suddenly. In some cases, it can be severe if calcium deposits are present. People can experience a loss of range of motion, immobility, and often inflamed and swollen joint areas were impacted.

What Are the Major Bursitis Risk Factors?

Typically, risk factors are lifestyle related. Work and athleticism often involve repetitive motions (mechanical stress) and the joints used to complete these motions are often where injuries occur. Other risk factors include arthritic conditions (rheumatoid & osteoporosis), gout, improper posture over prolonged periods, infections near joint capsules, certain misalignment of bones, age, being overweight, and more.

When to See a Chiropractic Doctor?

This is a tough question to answer. When you have pain or wish to prevent pain you should consider chiropractic care. Avoiding chronic pain from a mild injury becomes something to consider as well. Generally, you should consider seeing a chiropractic physician if you have pain for more than 7 days or redness and swelling appear in the affected area.

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How to Diagnose Bursitis?

Because of how common bursitis is, most often all it takes is visiting any Better Health Chiropractic clinic. By talking about your symptoms and medical history with the doctor and going through a simple examination, diagnosis is pretty straightforward. Sometimes lab tests will be required, and taking a simple x-ray only of the affected joint area (vs. of your entire torso or chest).

How to Treat Bursitis?

In a general sense, often bursitis gets better on its own as the bursae become less inflamed, swollen and irritated. When pain persists, treatments can range from surgery to noninvasive physical therapy and rehabilitation or chiropractic medicine. When additional pain relief is needed, often corticosteroid injections and antibiotics are considered.

How to Prevent Bursitis?

First, take a hard sobering look at your lifestyle, especially your fitness/exercise regimen and work. Obviously avoid injuries and joint trauma, but don’t forget to stretch beforehand. Identify the repetitive movements you make then focus stretching and conditioning (and rest!) on the areas you use the most.