The Hand Center welcomes Jill Putnam, MD to the practice! Dr. Putnam started September 1st.

How to Manage Bursitis

Bursitis can occur at any age. It affects the fluid-filled sacs that provide cushion to the tissues surrounding your joints. These small, fluid-filled sacs are called bursae. Bursitis occurs as a result of bursae inflammation. 

The bursae are all over your body where your joints are located, but bursitis most commonly affects shoulders, elbows, and hips. Usually, the bursae that get inflamed are located in joints that perform repetitive movements. Long-distance runners, for example, may develop bursitis in their feet or heels.

We asked our experts at The Hand Center to share a few ways to manage bursitis from the comfort of your home. Here are their tips and some background information about bursitis.

Bursitis symptoms and causes 

Typically, medical professionals recognize bursitis based on the following symptoms:

Aging, certain occupations, and conditions such as diabetes and arthritis can also raise your risk for developing bursitis. Fortunately, bursitis usually goes away within two to three weeks when treated properly, though flare-ups are common.

Home care tips to manage bursitis 

If you feel pain in your joint, avoid any activity and rest the affected area for a few days until the inflammation goes down. Ice packs can also help bring down the inflammation and swelling. You may benefit from alternating ice packs with heat in the first three days after the first bursitis flare-up.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can also help, but don’t use them to reduce the inflammation just so you can start overusing the joint again. Pair the drugs with rest so you don’t risk another flare-up.

As the pain goes away, gently move the affected joint through its full range of motion so you can avoid stiffness. After the pain is gone, continue exercising your joints so you can strengthen the muscles surrounding the bursa.

Treatment options for bursitis 

Severe bursitis that doesn’t respond to rest and over-the-counter pain relievers may be an indicator of an underlying condition. 

At times, the liquid in the bursa can get infected, and if that’s the cause of your bursitis, we may recommend antibiotics to eliminate the infection and get rid of symptoms. Certain injections and prescription medications can also help more severe cases of bursitis. 

If you’re in pain and don’t notice any improvement as days pass, contact us to schedule an appointment. We can diagnose and treat your bursitis so you can return to your daily activities as soon as possible.

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