What Is the Standard Treatment for Bursitis?
Bursitis is a medical condition that occurs in the joints when small fluid-filled sacs, called bursa, become inflamed. The inflammation of the bursa sac can lead to arthritis, prolonged pain, or infection.
Causes and Symptoms
Bursitis can affect any joint, but the most common locations for bursitis are the shoulders, elbows, and hips. Inflammation of the bursa sac is most often caused by the overuse or repetitive motion of a joint. Bursitis can be caused by throwing a baseball, hitting a tennis racket, running, or prolonged standing and kneeling. Symptoms of bursitis include joints areas that ache, are painful, swollen, or red. In addition to overuse injuries, bursitis can be caused by arthritis or gout.
The initial form of treatment for bursitis typically is rest and immobilization of the effected joint. If the joint is swollen, one should ice the area and take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication to help relieve pain and inflammation.
According to the Mayo Clinic, if bursitis does not respond to rest and immobilization, one may need to seek medical attention. A doctor may order an ultrasound of the effected joint to access inflammation. A common treatment for bursitis is physical therapy. In addition to physical therapy, a corticosteroid shot may be injected into joint to help reduce inflammation.
At times, the bursa sac may become infected. This can happen if the bursa sac is punctured, which can lead to infection of the bursa or septic bursitis. Treatment for septic bursitis typically begins with a course of antibiotics. If the infection fails to be contained, the bursa sac may need to be drained or removed.
Gout bursitis occurs when uric acid crystallizes in the joint fluid leading to inflammation. Gout can be treated through over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. If the condition continues, a doctor may prescribe prescription corticosteroid, which can be taken orally or via an injection to the joint.
According to the National Institute of Health, bursitis may be prevented by adequately stretching prior to exercising. Strength training of the muscles surrounding the effected joint may also be beneficial. Remember to take breaks when performing repetitive actions which will allow for the joint to relax and avoid swelling. If kneeling for long periods of time, consider wearing protective knee pads to avoid irritation to the knee joints.