Elbow pain and arthritis

What is Bursitis?

Bursitis is a condition of inflammation or irritation in the bursa. The purpose of the bursa is to decrease rubbing, friction and irritation between tissues such as bone, muscle, tendons and skin.

General Causes of Bursitis

Most often the cause of inflammation in the bursa is overuse of the joint. Overuse injuries can create inflammation or irritation in the bursa. Bursitis is generally seen in patients over 40 years of age. As tendons age they are able to tolerate less stress, are less elastic and are easier to tear. There are three joint locations that contain bursae that may be affected by inflammation of the bursae: the shoulder, the elbow, the hip and the knee.

Symptoms of Bursitis

Symptoms of bursitis may include any of the following:

  • Joint pain and tenderness when you press around the joint
  • Stiffness and aching when you move the affected joint
  • Swelling, warmth or redness over the joint

If left untreated, inflammation of the bursa can reduce the range of motion in your affected joint. The limitations of your joint may affect your function. Sideline Orthopedics can treat your bursitis and restore your quality of life. Following a prescribed treatment plan will help to alleviate your pain and discomfort and strengthen your muscles and joints so you can continue to do what you love!

Sideline Orthopedics offers treatment for bursitis in the following joints:

There are two main bursae in each hip: one on the bony point and one on the inside, or groin area, of the hip. Most often, bursitis is caused by frequent “mini-traumas,” which can equate to the same hip condition produced by a single, more serious trauma. People who bike, run or stand, especially on hard surfaces for long intervals, may be more prone to bursitis of the hip.

Falling on the outside of the hip, or hitting the hip on any hard surface, can cause a hip bursa to fill with blood and inflame its lining. Even though the body reabsorbs the blood, the bursa lining may stay inflamed, causing the symptoms of bursitis. This condition is termed “traumatic bursitis.”

Each of your knees has 11 bursae. Any of these bursae can become inflamed, but knee bursitis most commonly occurs over the kneecap, or on the inner side of your knee below the joint. Bursitis of the knee causes pain and can limit your mobility. Some causes of bursitis in the knee are:

  • Frequent and sustained pressure from kneeling.
  • A direct blow to your knee.
  • Overuse of the knee joint in activities such as climbing ladders.
  • Complications from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or gout in your knee.
The shoulder bursa becomes inflamed with high-stress manual labor, especially over-the-head reaching and lifting. Some activities which can lead to bursitis of the shoulder include:

  • Gardening
  • Raking
  • Carpentry
  • Shoveling
  • Painting
  • Scrubbing
  • Tennis
  • Golf
  • Skiing
  • Throwing
  • Pitching

Treatment of Bursitis

Sideline Orthopedics will discuss a treatment plan with you to help you resume your normal activity as quickly and safely as possible. We will listen to your needs and review your requirements for work or sports to develop an achievable rehabilitation plan.

Some tips to alleviate pain from bursitis include:

  • Use ice 3 to 4 times a day for the first 2 or 3 days, by covering the painful area with a towel and placing ice on the towel for approximately 15 minutes.
  • When sleeping, do not lie on the side that has bursitis.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen.
  • Physical therapy.
  • Exercises you do at home to build strength and keep the joint mobile as pain goes away.
  • Removing fluid from the bursa and injecting a shot of corticosteroid.
  • Avoiding activities that aggravate the problem.
  • Resting the injured area.

Recurrent cases may require surgical excision. In rare cases, infection can cause bursitis of the knee or elbow and may require surgery.

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