What is bursitis and how can it be diagnosed?



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Bursitis affects the joints and most commonly occurs in the shoulders, hips, elbows and knees. You are most likely to develop bursitis in the joints you use regularly or put the most pressure on. Let’s take a closer look at the condition below.

What is bursitis?

The joints in our bodies are cushioned by fluid-filled sacs that are called bursa. The bursa can become inflamed, making your joint swell. You will feel a dull pain which becomes more uncomfortable when you move or press on it. With bursitis, the skin near your joint can also become tender and warm. It will feel more sore than the skin surrounding it.

Bursitis can affect anyone, but you are more likely to suffer from it if you lean on a joint for an extended period of time or use it repetitively. This could be from kneeling when you clean, for example, or placing a lot of strain on your wrists.

How is bursitis diagnosed?

A rheumatologist can diagnose bursitis via a physical examination. They may want to take a sample of fluid from your affected joint, which will be sent off to check for infections and to rule out diseases like gout. Sometimes, draining the fluid can ease the symptoms of bursitis for patients.

In most cases, you can treat bursitis at home. If you rest your joint fully, it will go away within a few weeks. However, if this is not possible or your symptoms do not ease after this time, there are other treatment options available.

If the area gets infected, your doctor can issue a course of antibiotics. Once the infection clears up, the bursa may return to a healthy condition. In more severe cases, steroid injections may be used to help ease the pain.

How to prevent bursitis

You can make small adjustments to your lifestyle to help prevent bursitis from developing. Always make sure to warm up properly before taking part in any exercise and focus on low-impact activities where possible. If you can, pad your knees and elbows when you need to lean on them for long periods of time.

You are more likely to develop bursitis if you are overweight. More weight puts more pressure on your joints at all times, so follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly.