What Is Bursitis? How Do You Know You Have It? What Causes Bursitis? How Do You Treat It?
Do you have pain or discomfort around your major joints—your hips, knees, elbows, or shoulders? If so, chances are you suffer from bursitis, an inflammation that can cause sharp pain or nagging aches.
What Is Bursitis?
Simply put, bursitis is an irritation or inflammation of a bursa sac. There are more than 160 bursa sacs throughout your body in locations where bones, muscle, tendons, and skin conjoin. The sacs are filled with fluid to alleviate pain and discomfort when different body parts rub together. In general, bursitis is caused by repetitive contact or pressure on a bursa sac. Often, you’ll experience bursitis when you repeatedly engage in a lengthy activity using muscles or body parts you don’t customarily use much. Examples include shoveling snow, raking leaves, and trimming bushes. It’s also fairly common to get bursitis from recreational activities like golf, skiing, tennis, and even running.
The Symptoms of Bursitis
The first indicator of bursitis is typically pain. You may, however, have additional indications, such as swelling or stiffness in a joint. The affected area also may be red in color. A fever occasionally can accompany an attack of bursitis. If your fever goes above 102°F, you should see a medical professional, as it may be an indicationof infection.
How to Treat Bursitis
If your bursitis does not involve infection, you can typically treat it with the RICE approach:
- Rest—Take a break from activities that put stress on the affected area of the body.
- Ice—Apply an ice pack to the affected area for a minimum of 15 minutes. You can do this multiple times a day.
- Compression—Wrap the area, if possible, to minimize swelling.
- Elevation—Try to keep the affected area above your heart.
Tips for Preventing Bursitis
You may not be able to completely avoid bursitis, but there are ways you can minimize the risk:
- Maintain a good body weight to avoid putting unnecessary pressure on joints.
- Don’t sit still for long periods of time—that can put extra pressure on hips andother joints.
- Gradually work your way into any new exercise regimen or sport.
- Participate in different sports that focus activity on different joints or body parts.
- Maintain good posture when sitting at a desk.
- If you feel pain, stop what you are doing.