Between the bones and soft tissues all throughout the human body, small fluid-filled sacs known as “Bursae” cushion impact and help your body parts glide smoothly when moving.

If these Bursae suffer from inflammation or irritation, physicians call this condition “Bursitis”.

The subacromial bursae in the shoulder help lubricate the rotator cuff and commonly suffer from this condition. Patients suffering from subacromial bursitis may feel stiffness and pain in the shoulder, as well as swelling, redness, and soreness, which can cause difficulty sleeping.

Patients with Subacromial Bursitis will experience intense pain in the shoulder that worsens the more they move. Physicians recommend seeking treatment at the first opportunity to prevent joint problems in the long term.

Advanced Bursitis can completely immobilize the shoulder, leading to a condition known as frozen shoulder.”

In the hips sit two major bursae that commonly suffer from bursitis, The Greater Trochanter and the Iliopsoas. The Greater Trochanter covers the bony tip of the hips, while the Iliopsoas bursa sits on the inside of the hip towards the groin. The Iliopsoas bursa suffers from bursitis much less often than the Greater Trochanter, but the treatment of bursitis mostly remains the same.

What are the symptoms of bursitis?

Subacromial Bursitis symptoms

  • Stiffness and pain in the shoulder
  • Shoulder swelling, redness, weakness, and soreness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Pain that increases with movement

Advanced Bursitis symptoms

  • Immobilization of the shoulder

Acute Bursitis symptoms

  • Pain when the joint is touched
  • Limited motion from joint pain and difficulty flexing the muscle around the joint
  • Fever

Chronic Bursitis symptoms

  • Swelling and warmth in the affected area
  • Limited motion of the affected area

What are the causes of bursitis?

The most common causes of bursitis are repetitive motions or positions that put pressure on the bursae around a joint. For example:

  • Repeatedly throwing a ball or object
  • Lifting something over your head repeatedly
  • Leaning on your elbows for long periods
  • Extensive kneeling 

Other causes include:

  • Injury or trauma to the affected area
  • Inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and infection
  • Activities such as gardening, raking, painting, scrubbing, carpentry, etc.
  • Sports like tennis, golf, and baseball
  • Poor posture

What are the risk factors of bursitis?

Anyone can develop bursitis, but certain factors can increase your risk:

  • Age: Bursitis occurs more often as we age.
  • Occupations or hobbies: If your career or hobby requires repetitive motion or pressure on particular bursae.
  • Other medical conditions: Rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and diabetes (among other autoimmune diseases or viral infections). Being overweight can increase your risk of developing hip and knee bursitis.

What are the treatments for bursitis?

Steroidal Injection

The steroidal medication injected into a painful joint space can help soothe pain in joints affected by bursae. Injecting corticosteroids into a painful joint will not provide permanent relief on its own,  it can dramatically reduce inflammation and pain. The effects can last anywhere between 1 week to 1 year. Injections for joint pain are usually one of the steps taken before resorting to surgery. In some patients, steroid injections can reduce pain to the point where patients are able to participate in Physical Therapy, which in turn can strengthen the surrounding muscles and eliminate the need for further treatment. There are treatments available, non-surgical, and not steroid injection, that are regenerative and solutions to keep you away from surgery. schedule an appointment and ask our providers how we can help.

Our mission is to help patients to return to work, improve their quality of life, reduce dependence on medication and healthcare providers, and avoid persistent injuries.

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