If your elbow or knee is red, swollen, and tender, you might assume you've overused your joint. You might even wonder if arthritis is at play.
Turns out, stiff, red, and swollen joints can be signs of bursitis. Experts estimate that one out of every 10,000 individuals experiences bursitis in the elbow or knee each year. That stat isn’t even factoring in other joints like the hip. Bursitis pain can develop in any joint impacted by bursitis, including the Achilles tendon, shoulder, elbow, knee, and hip.
If bursitis is the cause of your joint pain, it can limit your ability to play sports, enjoy hobbies, or even complete daily tasks. Thankfully, our providers at the International Spine Pain & Performance Center are skilled at diagnosing and treating bursitis pain through interventional pain management techniques.
Bursae are small, fluid-filled sacs that are present all over your body. They act as shock absorbers to prevent bones and tendons from rubbing on each other. However, if the bursa becomes irritated, injured, or inflamed, it can cause pain. As the bursa sac is swollen, you might notice your joint is also swollen, red, and tender.
Bursa sacs can become irritated by a sudden injury, repetitive motion, or too much pressure on a specific joint.
The first step in treating bursitis is to make sure your joint pain is caused by bursitis. There are many reasons why a joint might hurt, so it’s important to start with an accurate diagnosis.
Bursitis is diagnosed with imaging (such as MRI or X-ray). Sometimes the fluid might be tested to confirm or rule out an infection. If a Staphylococcus aureus bacteria caused the bursa to become infected, you’ll need antibiotics as part of your treatment plan. Fever and red, hot-to-the-touch skin are two signs of an infection.
In addition to antibiotics (if an infection is present), there are other treatment options for reducing pain. These include:
The best defense is a good offense, and thankfully that’s true in most sports and also when it comes to bursitis. You can reduce your risk of future bursitis episodes by:
Because infections can quickly spread, don’t hesitate to give us a call, especially if you think your bursitis pain is caused by an infection.
Ice and anti-inflammatory medication help reduce pain by reducing inflammation. However, you might also benefit from physical therapy exercises. Certain exercises can help strengthen your muscles and improve the range of motion in your joints.
Whether you’re a serious athlete, a weekend warrior, or a daily walker, bursitis can stop you in your tracks. As sports medicine and orthopedic specialists, we know our joints, and we can help you get the relief you deserve.
To say goodbye to bursitis pain, visit us online to request an appointment at one of our three convenient locations.