Bursitis is a condition that occurs when the fluid-filled sacs (bursae) near the joints become inflamed. Bursae are small sacs that contain a small amount of fluid and cushion the joints and bones, allowing them to move smoothly over one another.

When a bursa becomes inflamed, it can cause pain, swelling, and discomfort in the affected joint. Bursitis is the leading cause of joint pain in adults.

Which joints can be affected by Bursitis?

Bursitis can occur in many different joints, including the shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, wrist and heel. It is often caused by repetitive movements or pressure on the joint, but can also be the result of an injury or infection.

Bursitis is most common in the large, major joints like the hips, knees and shoulders.

What treatments are available for Bursitis?

Treatment for bursitis typically involves a combination of the following:

  1. Rest: Avoid activities that put pressure on the affected joint and rest it as much as possible.
  2. Ice: Apply ice to the affected joint for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times a day, to reduce pain and swelling. For more information on the RICE protocol, read this article.
  3. Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe stronger pain medication or corticosteroid injections. If your bursitis is caused by infection, a course of antibiotics may be prescribed to clear that up.
  4. Physical therapy: A physical therapist can help you improve your joint mobility and strength and may also recommend exercises to help reduce pain and swelling.
  5. Assistive devices: Your doctor may recommend using crutches, a brace, or a cane to help take pressure off the affected joint and reduce pain.
  6. Surgery: In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the inflamed bursa or repair damage to the joint.

It’s important to consult with a doctor to determine the best treatment plan for your specific case of bursitis. With proper treatment, most people with bursitis are able to manage their symptoms and return to their normal activities.

How can physical therapy help bursitis?

  1. Stretching and strengthening exercises: A physical therapist can design a customized exercise program to help improve range of motion and strength in the affected joint. Stretching exercises can help prevent the joint from becoming stiff. Strengthening exercises can help improve joint stability and reduce the risk of future injury.
  2. Manual therapy: A physical therapist can use manual therapy techniques such as massage, joint mobilization, and soft tissue mobilization to help reduce pain and improve joint mobility.
  3. Ultrasound therapy: This is a non-invasive treatment that uses high-frequency sound waves to increase circulation and reduce pain and swelling.
  4. Taping and bracing: A physical therapist can use taping or bracing to help reduce pressure on the affected joint and provide support.
  5. Education: A physical therapist can provide education on proper body mechanics and activities to avoid to help prevent bursitis from recurring.

What does bursitis feel like?

The affected joint may look red and swollen with a visible bump. The pain feels like aching and stiffness that worsens with movement and applied pressure.

If these symptoms sound familiar, our team at Dayton Orthopedic Surgery & Sports Medicine Center can help.

We start with a comprehensive joint evaluation and full review of your symptoms. Then, we order additional testing, like diagnostic X-rays or ultrasound, if needed to confirm your diagnosis.

Bothered by a joint that’s stiff and painful? Come to Dayton Orthopedic Surgery to find relief. Call to schedule your appointment.