Bursitis (Swollen Painful Bursa)

What is bursitis?

Bursae are fluid-filled sacs between tendons and bones or tendons and overlying skin. A bursa is filled with a lubricant synovial fluid that ensures smooth, painless movement between the joints. Therefore the correct anatomical term is synovial bursa. Bursitis is the medical term for inflammation of a bursa that causes pain and swelling at the affected site. Bursae of the shoulder, elbow, hip, knee joints are commonly affected. Treatment of bursitis involves rest to the affected joint by immobilizing the joint, painkillers, exercise and rarely surgical drainage of the fluid from the bursae.

Bursitis Symptoms

Most cases of bursitis are acute and the symptoms intense. These symptoms of bursitis include :

  • Swelling, redness and warmth (signs of inflammation) around the joints.
  • Stinging to burning pain during movement of the affected joint.
  • Stiffness of the affected joint especially in the morning.
  • Fever may be associated with above symptoms

Repeated inflammation of bursa may lead to chronic bursitis. Patients with chronic bursitis may experience acute episodes otherwise the only symptoms that are experienced includes chronic stiffness of the joint and restricted movement of the joint due to pain.

Picture from Wikimedia Commons

Causes of Bursitis

The important reasons for bursitis are :

  • Excessive pressure (maintaining same posture for prolonged period) on the joint.
  • Repeated movement (chronic overuse) of the affected joint.
  • Inflammatory condition (rheumatoid arthritis, gout) can predispose a person to bursitis.
  • Infection.
  • Scoliosis (bending of the spine from side to side) may predispose to shoulder bursitis.
  • Trauma.
  • Systemic diseases (chronic).
  • Unknown reasons (idiopathic)

Injury to bursa leads to swelling due to inflammation (acute bursitis) so the bursa cannot fit in the small space between the bone and tendon or tendon and overlying skin. This condition results in further increase in pressure on the bursa during movements of the overlying joint. Thus inflammatory damage to the bursa becomes a vicious cycle leading to chronic bursitis.

Types and location

Knee bursitis

Housemaid’s knee, carpet layer’s knee, coal miner’s knee (pre-patellar bursitis) is caused by extensive kneeling during scrubbing of floor, laying carpets and so on. Superficial location of the bursa may lead to infection (sepsis) of the bursa (septic bursitis) due to abrasion.

Clergyman’s knee (infra-patellar bursitis) is bursitis occurring just below the knee cap (patella). Usually Clergyman’s are commonly affected with this type of bursitis due to injury (chronic pressure) of the bursa during prolonged prayer on hard surface.

Hip bursitis

Trochanteric bursitis affects the hip joint

Elbow bursitis

Student’s elbow, Baker’s elbow, water on the elbow (olecranon bursitis) occurs due to repetitive injury (even repetitive movement) to the elbow (during playing golf, tennis even excessive pressure due to leaning on the elbow during studying or computer work can cause this type of bursitis.

Shoulder bursitis

Subacromial bursitis due to repetitive movement of the shoulder joint (like throwing of a baseball).

Risk Factors

  • Age: chance of suffering from bursitis increases with aging.
  • Occupation or hobbies: gardening, painting, prolonged work on computer leaning on the elbow, baseball, tennis players, golfers, floor tiles setting.
  • Co-existent medical conditions: gout, rheumatoid arthritis.

Bursitis Treatment

When there is no infection associated with bursitis the patient can be managed with :

  • Ice packs
  • Elevation of the limb
  • Analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Physical therapy

When associated with bacterial infection, antibiotic therapy with further investigation for the underlying cause of infection is required. Repeated attacks of bursitis may be managed with surgical drainage of the bursa.

References :

/>

More Related Topics


Related pages


what organ is on left side under rib cageconstant right upper quadrant painsevere pain in fingertipsmenstrual period blood clots picturesreasons for projectile vomitingforearm bone painskin rash breastfeedingyellowish vaginal discharge no smellsinus infection swollen facee coli while pregnantpains in the ovariesmiscarriage vaginal dischargesmelly discharge before periodwhy does the stomach growlfeeling of fullness in lower abdomenbreast skin irritationfingernail symptoms of diseaseburping rotten eggs vomiting diarrheareasons for period spottingwhite blotchy skin fungusleft side abdominal pain that radiates to the backloud abdominal soundsnoisy stomach and gasbaby spit up clear wateryurine foul smelltrembling lips symptomsjock itch armpit rashwhat cause dizziness in the morningyellow coloured faecespotassium level 5.2causes for constant diarrheamilky breast discharge not pregnanttenderness in left breastitchy skin pubic areaskin smells like sulphurlower left back pain radiating to abdomenwhat causes zits on scalpchild vomiting bilestomach rumbling at nightcauses of lazinessback pain left side under ribsdoes constipation cause pain in lower abdomenstringy blood clotsbreast itching underneathsigns and symptoms of macrocytic anemiafungus on face picturesconstipation feels like period crampshow does brown discharge look likefoods to eat with peptic ulcernumbness in head and faceconstantly itchy scalppain left under rib cagefeminine itch during periodstomach gnawing painsore nipples after sexmucus from anus without stoolpain under left rib cage frontswollen rib cage on left sidepolyps on uterus symptomspain in rib under breastbleeding nipple causeschigger eradicationanal leakage causesrotten smell coming from vaginaare uterine polyps commonitchy throat symptomstypes of intestinal worms in humansbody odour reasonswhat are stomach noisesappendix symptoms left side paincan jock itch cause bumpswhat causes pain in the rib cageburning sensation on anusburnt tongue syndrome symptomsgroin glandswhat causes filariasistender lymph nodes groin