A bursa is a sac filled with lubricating fluid between tissues. It decreases friction between muscles, tendons, bones and skin. Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa from repetitive impact or sudden movement.
- Inflammation on a joint noted by a swollen bursa sac
- Pain that is sudden or gradual and building in intensity
- Swelling may appear very spongy in nature especially on the elbow
Who is at risk?
As tendons age, they tear more easily so bursitis is more common in adults over 40. High risk activities include gardening, carpentry, snow shoveling, scrubbing, and sports such as tennis that involves aggressive, repetitive movement. The most common areas of bursa inflammation are the elbow, shoulder, hip, knee, ankle and heel. On an individual basis, it will strike in the area used, or abused, the most.
Treatment starts with isolation and rest. Ice helps at the onset of the injury. A physician might prescribe over the counter anti-inflammatory medication. If the symptoms persist, see a physician for further direction. In many cases it will be important for your physician to determine if the source is traumatic or infective. This requires extraction of fluid from the bursa for lab analysis. This can be somewhat painful but removal of excess fluid usually results in some relief.
Emergency Warning Signs: When should I see a doctor?
Emergency help might be necessary if the inflammation worsens or is accompanied by a high fever or redness of the area in question.
Bursitis treatment is available now at OnPoint Urgent Care in Aurora, Highlands Ranch, or Lone Tree Colorado.
For more information on bursitis, see the following websites:
Mayo Clinic Bursitis Overview
WebMD on Arthritis and the Basics of Bursitis
Disclaimer: The links above are to sites independent of OnPointUrgentCare.com. The pages will open in a new browser window. The information provided is for educational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your doctor. Always follow your doctor’s recommendations regarding your specific medical questions, treatments, therapies, and other needs.