Your shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, and heels all have small sacs, filled with a jelly-like substance, providing a sort of cushion between your bones. Normally, they reduce friction and allow your joints to move without rubbing against each other.
The cushions are called bursae, and when they become inflamed, you have bursitis, which can be quite painful. The experts at Performance Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine can accurately diagnose bursitis, and we can suggest treatments that are likely to work best for your situation, depending on the underlying cause of your inflammation, as well as your lifestyle.
How to know if you have bursitis
In addition to cushioning the bones in your joints, bursae also cushion other structures such as tendons and muscles. Repetitive motions can irritate the bursae, which causes some common symptoms, including a joint that:
- Appears swollen or red
- Feels stiff
- Hurts to move
- Hurts when you apply pressure
Even if you’re not doing anything, inflamed bursae can cause pain.
There are plenty of things you can do to keep your joints healthy. For example, these tips are good no matter where your pain is located:
- Rest - give your joint time to heal
- Ice - to reduce swelling
- Elevate - raising the joint can help reduce swelling
- Use a device - a cane or sling may help take pressure off the joint
Small changes, such as not leaning on your elbows, can make a huge difference in preventing bursitis flare-ups. If you have a chronic condition like diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis, you may need to manage it more carefully to avoid bursitis.
When to get help
At-home treatments are good, and may even be enough, but sometimes bursitis requires medical intervention. If the treatments above aren’t working and you’re still in pain, schedule an appointment at Performance Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine. Our staff may suggest additional treatments such as:
- Medication, like anti-inflammatories or antibiotics
- Steroid injections to ease the pain and the inflammation
- Surgery in order to drain the inflamed bursa
If you have other conditions, we may also be able to help you manage them and avoid future episodes of bursitis.
Tips for avoiding future flare-ups of bursitis
Once your bursae are healed and you’re back to your busy and hopefully pain-free life, you can take some steps to lower your risk of future bouts of bursitis.
Protect your joints
Use aids and common sense to protect your joints. For instance, if you kneel when you garden, use knee pads. Learn and use safe lifting techniques to protect your hips. Being cautious when it comes to your joints can prevent bursitis and injury of other kinds, too.
Avoid repetitive use injury
Whether you tend to make the same motions again and again at work or doing a hobby, be aware of overuse injury. Alternate tasks or cross-train so that you aren’t repeating the same motions and putting stress on your bursae.
Lose weight if you need to
Obesity is hard on your joints, especially your hips and knees. Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight can help you avoid bursitis and arthritis, and is overall a positive thing for your body.
Establish an exercise routine
Strength training and flexibility training can help improve the health of your joints in several ways. Exercise may also help you maintain a healthy weight.
If you suspect you may have bursitis, schedule an appointment at Performance Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine today. We’re happy to discuss your situation and help you find a solution for your joint issues.