Bursitis

Definition:
Bursitis is a condition that causes inflammation of the bursa, which are fluid-filled sacs in the joints. Bursitis typically develops in the shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees from frequent, repetitive motions. This condition is also common in the heels and base of the big toe. Bursitis can be treated through conservative techniques, interventional pain care, or minimally invasive surgery, and treatment is dependent upon the severity of the condition. A provider at TriState Pain Institute will evaluate your symptoms and deliver an appropriate diagnosis before recommending a treatment option. 

Causes:
The most common cause of bursitis is overuse of a particular joint. Possible scenarios of overuse include throwing a baseball or football frequently, lifting objects overhead repeatedly, applying pressure to the elbows or shoulders for an extended period of time, and extensive kneeling on hard surfaces. Bursitis can also develop from a traumatic injury to a joint, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, or an infection. However, more often than not, repetitive motions cause bursitis.

Symptoms:
Symptoms of bursitis may develop gradually, and in the very early stages, patients may experience sharp, intense pains, redness, and swelling in the affected joint(s). Over time, the pain may spread to surrounding areas and become a dull ache that worsens at night, while lying down, or after sitting for several hours. Patients should schedule an appointment with their TriState Pain Institute physician if they begin to experience debilitating joint pain that lasts more than one or two weeks, a fever, or a rash in the affected area. 

Treatments:
Before administering treatment, a TriState Pain Institute physician will review your medical history and perform a physical examination. Should further testing be needed, imaging tests such as an ultrasound or MRI may be ordered, as well as a blood or fluid analysis. After being diagnosed with bursitis, your TSPI provider may recommend conservative therapies such as rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce inflammation and minimize discomfort. If these treatment methods don’t work, you may be prescribed an antibiotic, given injections or assistive devices, or enrolled in a physical therapy program. Lastly, a TSPI provider may suggest minimally invasive surgery if the patient's bursitis does not resolve itself after receiving interventional pain care.

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