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  Bursitis

Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa. Bursa are small sacks of synovial fluid that can be found where muscles and tendons are attached and slide across bones – the joints. Humans have 160 bursa in their bodies. The major bursa are located at shoulders, hips, elbows and knees. A healthy bursa allows bones to move with out friction and pain. When bursitis occurs movement becomes difficult and painful, due to the inflammation. Movement of tendons and muscle across inflamed bursae increase the inflammation, hence a vicious circle of pain.

Bursitis Joint pain
Bursitis


Symptoms
Symptoms of bursitis vary from aches to stiffness in a joint. Sometimes the entire joint burns. Pain is usually worse during and after exercise or activity. The following day, the bursa will become stiffer.

Causes
Repetitive movement and excessive pressure cause bursitis. Elbows and knees are the most commonly afflicted joints. The elbow and knee have more burae than other joints in the body and get the most repetitive use.

Rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases can also cause Bursitis.

The main cause of Bursitis is a traumatic injury, which first causes swelling of the bursae. The swelled bursae can no longer fit in the small area between muscle, tendon and bones. The bone begins to squeeze and irritate the bursa and a bursitis flare up usually occurs.

Diagnosis
Bursitis is diagnosed via physician observation, patient reporting and an X-ray. Localized pain, swelling, tenderness and pain with movement or motion are indicators of Bursitis. An X-ray can sometimes determine if there are gout crystals in the bursa, when the bursitis has been chronic.

Treatment
Treatment of bursitis, regardless of which joint is affected, is dependent on whether or not the bursa is infected. Bursitis that is due to arthritis, or injury can be treated with rest, ice compresses, anti-inflammatory medication and pain medication. Sometimes the bursa fluid needs to be drained.

Draining the bursa fluid can be performed by a physician using a syringe. The fluid may or may not be sent to the laboratory for testing. Bursitis that is non-infection can be treated with a cortisone or steroid injection to the swollen joint. Draining the bursa fluid and injecting the cortisone into the affected join can sometimes be performed at the same time. This procedure rapidly eases the inflammation of swollen bursa.

Infectious or septic bursitis requires aggressive treatment and detailed evaluation. The fluid from the bursa needs to be examined in the laboratory for microbes that could cause the infection. Repeated drainage of the inflamed fluid may need to be repeated. Septic bursa requires antibiotic therapy. Depending on the severity of the infection, a patient may either require a hospital stay or can be treated on an out-patient basis.

Surgical draining and bursa removal may also be required. After surgery. the adjacent joint will function normally after the surgical wounds are healed.

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