Recognizing and Treating Bursitis
It’s a common problem that causes severe joint pain and swelling. Dr. Thomas LaPorta, an orthopedic surgeon on staff with Lee Health, says bursitis is most common in the shoulders, hips, elbows, and knees. “Bursitis is inflammation of the bursa sac. “What a bursa sac is is a small fluid filled, almost like a jelly pouch that sits around multiple joints. We have bursa around our hips, shoulders, elbows, knees, and what they do is they help decrease friction between bone, muscle, and tendon. So what bursitis is, is an inflammation of that sac.”
Because there are multiple bursas around some of the joints everyone is at risk for developing bursitis, particularly those whose jobs or hobbies cause them to overuse their elbows, knees, or hips.
“You’ll almost have a fluid filled sensation, especially those that are right underneath the surface so sometimes people come in and say they have what looks like a golf ball on the side of their elbow and that’s that bursa sac that’s filled with fluid,” said Dr. LaPorta.
While bursitis can go away on its own, patients may need compression or anti-inflammatory to help with the swelling. “If it’s a repetitive thing that comes back sometimes we need to do surgery and remove that bursa sac because there is a risk that chronic inflammation and fluid can cause an infection,” said Dr. LaPorta.
Once a patient develops bursitis they are at risk for it to come back. “There are certain people who are more at risk. People with diabetes, people who are older, arthritis is a promoter of it, and then also just specific professions, specific sports,” said Dr. LaPorta.
He recommends using knee pads or elbow pads and limiting the amount of time spent straining your joints.
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