John Miller Physiotherapist

Article by John Miller

What is Bursitis?

Bursitis is the inflammation of a bursa, a self-contained bag of lubricant that reduces friction between two moving structures in the body. Bursae provide a low-friction, slick interface between moving objects, such as tendons and bones. There are over 150 bursae in the body, found where muscles and tendons glide over bones. Without bursae, movements would be painful due to friction, similar to the pain associated with bursitis.

What Causes Bursitis?

Certain systemic conditions can also make individuals more susceptible to bursitis. Direct trauma or repeated irritation can cause bursitis. During active bursitis, the swollen bursa loses its painless and low-friction gliding capabilities, increasing friction within a confined space. Several common causes of bursitis include repetitive irritation, traumatic injury, and systemic disease.

Repetitive movements or prolonged pressure can lead to bursitis. For instance, overhead activities commonly impinge on the bursa, causing shoulder bursitis. Similarly, weak hip/gluteal muscles and an improper walking pattern can increase hip bursa pressure, resulting in trochanteric bursitis in the hip.

Traumatic injuries, such as car accidents or falls, can cause bursitis by compressing the bursa and triggering an inflammatory healing reaction. Systemic inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis may also contribute to the development of bursitis.

Common Types of Bursitis

Some common types of bursitis include hip bursitis, knee bursitis, heel bursitis, shoulder bursitis, and elbow bursitis.

Physiotherapist treating patient with shoulder bursitis in clinic
Shoulder Bursitis Treatment

Bursitis Treatment

Some common types of bursitis include hip bursitis, knee bursitis, heel bursitis, shoulder bursitis, and elbow bursitis. Treatment for bursitis involves:

  • Reducing acute pain and inflammation.
  • Addressing the underlying causes.
  • Implementing rehabilitation programs to prevent recurrence.

Identifying and correcting abnormal biomechanics, muscle weaknesses, and movement patterns are crucial in preventing bursitis recurrence. Initial treatment may involve ice, anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroid injections, and physiotherapy. In some cases, healthcare providers may consider corticosteroid injections for acutely painful, persistent, or chronic bursitis.

For personalised advice and treatment tailored explicitly to your bursitis condition, we recommend consulting a physiotherapist who assesses, treats and manages bursitis.

More Info

Bursitis Related Injuries

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