What is bursitis?

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Bursitis is a condition where there is inflammation in the bursa.  Many joints in the body have bursa which basically functions to help ease the friction between the movements of the bony parts.  Each bursa in the body contains fluid which lubricates the joint and allows for smooth movement. The shoulders, elbows, and knees for example have fluid sacs around them called bursa.  Whenever this particular part of the body gets inflamed, bursitis will occur leading to common symptoms such as pain and swelling of the joint.

Repetitive use or overuse of the affected joint is one of many primary causes of bursitis.  When a particular joint is affected, there will loss of smoothness in terms of joint movement. The bursa or fluid sac will undergo inflammation and will cause a rough movement of the bony parts. As the bursitis progresses, more friction will occur in the joints causing rough movements. With pain and swelling associated with bursitis, it will be more difficult for people to achieve painful, smooth, and effortless movement.  Trauma to the affected joint/s may also cause bursitis.  People who are into sports for example are prone to have bursitis in their shoulders and knees because of repetitive movements and possible trauma.  People who have arthritis may also develop bursitis in various joints of the body.

Treatment of bursitis will depend upon the symptoms and affected joint.  For minor cases, rest and topical medications may provide relief. Some cases will also respond well to icing technique especially those that complain of joint pain.  Moderate to severe bursitis may require the intake of anti-inflammatory drugs. There are also cases wherein some physical therapy will be helpful in providing relief for bursitis.  Splinting and range-of-motion exercises may be prescribed for some patients to help promote smooth joint movements and reduce the swelling.

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