Wellness Embodied Blog

What is Bursitis you ask? Inflammation of the bursa. 

Well… what is a bursa?
A bursa is a small fluid filled sac that acts like a shock-absorber between soft tissue (muscles, tendons, ligaments) and bone. The role of the bursa is to reduce friction and assist optimal joint movement. So how does a bursa become inflamed? Overuse, impact, or poor biomechanics can cause irritation and inflammation of the bursa, causing it to fill with excess fluid. The bursa then becomes a source of pain, and can interrupt normal movement. This can lead to a vicious cycle of altered biomechanics causing abnormal load, resulting in ongoing inflammation. We have over 150 bursa in the body, and when everything is working well, we aren’t aware of them. It is when they become inflamed that they begin to disrupt normal functioning of the body.

What causes bursitis? 
Bursitis can result from direct impact to the bursa, particularly those located superficially (eg. elbow, knee), repeated pressure (eg. kneeling), and poor biomechanics (when movement causes abnormal load on the joint and/or bursa). 

I think I have bursitis … what can I do?
The best option is to be assessed by a physiotherapist who can assess movement, posture, soft tissue length and strength and biomechanics to provide you with a detailed treatment plan.
In the meantime, there are some steps you can take to ease the pain and restore function. 

  • Relative rest: If your pain is triggered by a particular movement or activity, it may be beneficial to avoid or modify that activity until the pain subsides. Complete rest from all activity is not beneficial as it is important to maintain strength. 
  • Cold packs / ice: can be helpful to lower inflammation and decrease pain 
  • Anti-inflammatory medications: may assist in lowering inflammation and reducing pain. 
  • Posture: ensuring you are moving well to prevent overloading certain structures.

I don’t want bursitis … how do I prevent it? 

  • Ensure adequate warm up and cool down before exercise or repetitive movement
  • Practice correct static and dynamic posture (a physiotherapist can teach you optimal movement patterns)
  • Take frequent breaks and change position when doing repetitive tasks
  • Modify activities that cause pain 

If you think you may have bursitis, come and see one of our physiotherapists for a full assessment and treatment.

Everyone deserves to live and move without pain.

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