Bursitis – What? Why? and How do I fix it?
Firstly, what is bursitis?
- Bursitis = inflammation of the fluid sacs in your joints
- Bursae are small, fluid-filled sacs that reduce friction between the moving parts in your bodies joints.
- Common causes are injury and overuse
- Common areas of bursitis include the shoulder, hip and knee
- Common treatments include RICE, gentle mobilisation techniques, avoiding aggravating activities and correcting underlying joint problems
Why does it happen?
- Direct blows to the bursae can cause inflammation – the inflammation causes pain
- The overuse cause is trickier to explain as it is different in each person. Briefly, either the joint is moving incorrectly and placing pressure on the bursae (e.g. shoulder impingement) or, the tendons around the joint are rubbing on the bursae due to tendon swelling or tightness.
- It is important to get a medical professional to assess your injury to give you a specific explanation as to why you may be getting bursitis
How do I fix it?
- The first step is always pain management. Options include RICE, anti-inflammatories or steroid injections. In severe cases surgery is also considered. It is important to discuss these options with your physiotherapist and GP
- Secondly, most bursitis will settle by itself as long as it doesn’t continue to get aggravated. This is where physiotherapy can help. Your physio will help identify what is aggravating the bursae and how to avoid it.
- Finally, the best fix is prevention. Listen to your body. If you are feeling any aches or pains that aren’t gone in a few days then talk to a physio or your GP, have an assessment and discuss your options.