What is Bursa?
A bursa is a sac or soft-tissue envelope that can commonly be found in various parts of the body, especially in areas where two components frequently come in contact with each other. In areas where friction is a common occurrence between one bony part to another, or a tendon passing through a bony part, a bursa is needed to sort of cover or envelope this area with synovial fluid. Because of this fluid, the two soft-tissue structures involved may move smoothly and efficiently with less friction. Like when a muscle or tendon attaches to a bony part, a bursa is necessary to allow smooth and painless movement. Otherwise, if no lubrication from the synovial fluid is provided, pain and discomfort during movement may occur.
Common bursas in the body are present in several joints including the shoulder joint, the hip joint, the elbows, and the knees. All these joints involve constant movement with underlying muscle tissue, bone tissue, and tendon. When there is a problem in these areas, a bursitis may occur. A bursitis refers to the inflammation of a particular bursa and it may be due repetitive joint movement, pressure on the joint or bursa, or other joint problems like arthritis. Bursitis may also occur from direct trauma to a particular joint. A direct blow to a joint will cause inflammatory changes and swelling leading to other symptoms like pain and difficulty in movement. A bursa may also be inflamed because of infection to a part of the joint.
Treatment for inflammation to a bursa typically starts with anti-pain and anti-inflammatory drugs. Some patients are prescribed with oral pills while others need stronger drugs in the form of injections. Those with arthritic conditions may also be referred to physical therapy sessions to help them with exercise treatment options. For severe cases, surgery may be necessary.