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Important Information for Bursitis Sufferers

Posted Sep 11 2009 4:57pm

What is Bursitis?
There are fluid filled sacs located throughout the body in areas of friction. These friction areas are generally between bone or tendon and skin. The fluid filled sacs are called bursae together and one is called a bursa.

Approximately 160 bursae are located throughout the body and they secrete a fluid that provides lubrication to these body parts. When one of these bursae is injured either through consistent activity or from a direct trauma then bursitis results.

There are two types of bursitis which may be a result of an infection of the synovial fluid or from too much movement. This is obviously painful and bursitis sufferers are always in search of pain relief.

The symptoms of bursitis are painful. This is because the tendons and bones that are affected by swelling and cause pain for the individual. Movement becomes difficult and painful when the bursae sacs swell as well. The foot, shoulder, hand and wrist, knee, and elbow are the joints that are most often affected.

The most common causes include crystal deposits, trauma, and infection.

Crystal Deposits
Many people with rheumatoid arthritis, gout, scleroderma, and other similar problems experience crystal deposits in and around their joints because the body is unable to metabolize uric acid properly.

There are two types of trauma that may cause bursitis. These are chronic and acute. With chronic traumas repetitive motions may be the cause.

An example of a repetitive motion would be continually throwing a baseball that over time causes inflamation.

Acute trauma is a direct trauma to any part of the body that results in blood filling up the bursa. The immediate collection of blood causes swelling and pain, i.e. bursitis.

Septic bursitis occurs when bacteria or organisms infect the bursae near the skin's surface. Some individuals are more prone to developing this type of bursitis than others.

For example, diabetics, alcoholics, those with specific traumas, kidney diseases, and those on steroids are at a higher risk.

Doctors use a variety of methods to diagnose bursitis. The first appointment the doctor generally asks for a history of symptoms, their onset, and what activities initiate the pain. Any other medical problems will be discussed and considered during the diagnosis as well.

Sometimes doctors will remove some synovial fluid from the joint to check for infection. Frequently the elbow and the knee become infected so it is important to check the fluid. Blood testing is also important to rule out any other diseases, infections, or the like. In some situations X-rays are used as well, but this is not the first method of diagnosis.

The frequent treatment prescribed by doctors is P-R-I-C-E-M. This stands for protection, rest, ice, compression, elevation, and medication.

In situations where this method does not work and the bursitis is not infectious then corticosteroid is injected into the affected joint to reduce inflammation. These injections may cause complications. As a result, the corticosteroid may only be injected three times per year and at intervals of at least 30 days.

In situations where the individual has infectious bursitis then the bursa must be drained. A needle is inserted into the joint and the fluid is withdrawn. Antibiotics are also prescribed to rid the body of the infection. In rare circumstances when the infection is widespread oral antibiotics do not work and the individual must be admitted to the hospital for intravenous antibiotics.

If you think you have bursitis then you should visit your medical doctor. There are treatment options that can help you manage your pain. The longer you wait the more pain you will experience so make an appointment as soon as possible to get your bursitis under control.

Those already affected with this condition should take care of themselves, avoid repetitive movements, and always take care to use preventive measures to avoid additional pain.

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