A bursa is a pouch filled with a small amount of lubricating fluid that provides cushioning between a bone and tendon, ligament, muscle or skin, which allows them to slide smoothly over the bone as it moves. Bursae are located wherever tissue and bone meet. When the tissue of the bursa becomes swollen and inflamed, it causes bursitis.

Though bursitis can occur anywhere in the body where bursae are located, the most common areas are the shoulder, hip, knee and elbow. Bursitis is often caused by excessive repetitive motion, such as hitting a tennis ball, vacuuming or hammering, for example, or by leaning on your elbows at your desk.

Traumatic injury, such as a fall or a car accident, can also lead to bursitis. If bacteria get inside the bursa via a wound, infection may result, leading to heat, redness, fever, chills, swelling and pain, and excess fluid will collect in the bursa, causing a large bump to form around the area. Additionally, those who suffer from gout, diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis are at greater risk for contacting bursitis.

The first treatment for bursitis is rest, ice, compression and elevation, or “RICE”. Rest the area as much as possible, keep pressure off of it as much as possible, cushion the area if necessary. Apply ice and wrap an elastic bandage around the area. You can take NSAIDS to decrease inflammation and reduce pain.

Bursitis usually heals in a matter of weeks or months, depending upon its severity. Dr. Fiscella can recommend treatments and exercises to help restore range of motion.


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