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Bursitis is the inflammation of the bursa, which is a fluid-filled sac that is found between a tendon and bone. Bursae are found near joints where the tendons and muscles overlie bony projections. Bursae assist in the movement of the joints, and in turn reduce friction in moving joints. Bursitis is a common cause of pain in the shoulders, hips, elbows and knees. Bursitis can be chronic or acute.

Figure 1: Hip Bursa

 

CAUSES OF BURSITIS

Bursitis can be caused by overuse or trauma. Trauma causes inflammatory bursitis from repetitive injury. Repetitive motion, such as throwing a baseball or repetitive kneeling can lead to chronic bursitis. Bursitis can also develop in patients with underlying conditions such as gout, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Often times the cause cannot be determined.

COMMON SYMPTOMS OF BURSITIS

Patients will have tenderness when pressing around the joint. Most patients complain of aching and stiffness during joint movement and may notice areas of swelling over the affected areas. Bursitis causes pain around the affected bone or tendon.  Depending on which Bursa is affected, visual changes are difficult to see.  Bursitis of the knee is very noticeable, sometimes called Housemaid's knee due to excessive kneeling, leads to a large pocket of inflammation around the Patella.  The skin around the affected bursa can become red, tender, and warm to the touch.  Hip, shoulder, and elbow bursitis is not as noticeable on visual inspection.

Figure 2: Areas Bursitis Affects

 

TREATMENT 

Patients with Bursitis should avoid further irritation of the area by avoiding physical activity involving the injured area.  Applying ice and/or cold compresses to the area helps to reduce swelling.  Chiropractors may use Low Volt current, Ultrasound, He/Ne Laser therapy in order to reduce inflammation and promote normal tissue healing.  Patients with Bursitis should respond well within the first few weeks of treatment.  At times, some patients benefit from over the counter anti-inflammatories in conjunction with Chiropractic treatments.