Bursitis is a painful condition that is caused by the inflammation of the bursae. These are small sacks filled with synovial fluid that are located where muscle and tendon slide across the bone. Their normal function is to allow a gliding surface to make movement painless. However, when bursitis affects one or more bursa the movement in the local area can be restricted and painful. This movement can also aggravate the problem. It commonly occurs due to repetitive movement and pressure, but can also be caused by an injury. The elbows, knees and shoulders are usually affected, but other areas can also be involved. Let’s take a look at how this painful condition is treated.
What is the treatment for bursitis?
Bursitis is most commonly treated by elevating, icing and resting the affected area. In many cases physiotherapy and anti-inflammatory drugs may be required. Pain is usually managed with over-the-counter pain medication. If there is an infection causing the inflammation then testing is required and the infection is treated with antibiotics.
More serious cases may require that the removal of excess synovial fluid or injecting the bursa with a medicine to relieve the inflammation and/or reduce the fluid build up. In the most serious of cases surgery may be required to remove the affected bursa/e. A new bursa will regrow in about 2 weeks and in most cases the inflammation does not return. This surgery is known as a bursectomy.
It is important to try and find the cause of bursitis as early as possible. Unresolved problems can lead to scarring, which can lead to bursitis occurring more frequently.