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What is Bursitis

A bursa is a sac filled with lubricating fluid located between tissues such as bone, tendons and muscles to prevent friction and irritation. Bursitis described the condition where the bursa becomes inflamed and painful. There are several bursas in the body and thus, bursitis can occur in a number a areas.

Most common locations are:thejointnundah.com

  • Shoulder
  • Hip
  • Knee

What causes Bursitis

Bursitis is most often caused by repetitive, minor impact on the area, or from a sudden, more serious injury. The bursa can become inflamed and irritated by surrounding tendon injury such as tendinopathy. Tight surrounding muscles can also place stress on the bursa. These tight muscles and also change joint mechanics or how the joint moves. Commonly, a recent increase in activity that is unaccustomed will cause the bursa to become inflamed.

Symptoms of Bursitis

The most common symptom of bursitis is pain. The pain may present gradually or be sudden and severe, especially if calcium deposits are present in surrounding tissue. Typically, symptoms will result in:

  • thejointnundah.comPain- which is aching in nature
  • Reduced range of motion at affected area
  • Pain with direct pressure over the bursa


Dos and Don’ts

DO apply ice over the bursa if aching and painful

DON’T apply heat over the bursa, this increase swelling and inflammation

DO rest the area. Continued movement and or exercise involving the bursa will cause more pain and inflammation

DO consult with a Physiotherapist who can assist in reducing your pain whilst improving movement in the area.

DON’T apply direct pressure to bursa eg. laying on affected side, carrying bag on affected shoulder

Treatment of Bursitis

Treatment initially aims to reduce inflammation and associated pain.

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Anti-inflammatory medications (where appropriate)

Once your pain has settled it is important consult a Physiotherapist to normalise your movement and strength. A physiotherapist will:

  • Restore surrounding muscle length
  • Restore joint range of motion
  • Identify underlying cause and address factors to prevent re-occurance
  • Improvement strength and motor control
  • Return to full normal function



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