Specialty Care for Bursitis at UPMC
Bursitis is an inflammation of a bursa, a small, fluid-filled sac between your bones and muscles, tendons or skin. There are bursas throughout your body, so bursitis can occur anywhere, but it’s seen most often in major joints such as the knees, hips, elbows and shoulders.
Signs and symptoms of bursitis may develop gradually or you may feel them suddenly. Orthopaedic doctors at Susquehanna Health evaluate the following bursitis symptoms:
- Stiffness with limited range of motion
- Visible deformity
The most common cause of bursitis is overuse and repetitive stress. Some medical conditions may also cause bursitis, such as gout, arthritis or infections. Bursitis can also result from trauma or injury to the joint.
Treatment of bursitis varies according to the cause. Antibiotics may treat bursitis caused by infection. If you have septic bursitis, your physician may drain fluid from the bursa. Bursitis caused by an illness, such as arthritis, may improve with treatment for that condition.
Bursitis caused by overuse or irritation to the bursa can be treated with:
- Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen
- Ice packs if the bursitis is close to the skin, such as with the elbow
- Braces or splints to reduce joint movement and prevent repetitive stress
- Physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around the bursa
- A steroid injected directly into the bursa
Bursitis rarely requires surgery, but it may be needed if a bone is rubbing and causing the inflammation, or if initial treatments stop working. If a diseased bursa needs to be removed, the body will naturally regenerate a healthy replacement.
Once bursitis is treated, you can take steps to prevent it from returning, including:
- Taking breaks if you are doing repetitive actions
- Exercising the muscles around the affected joint
- Starting slowly when introducing a new physical activity
- Protecting the joint
- Wearing special devices, as prescribed by your doctor
UPMC Orthopaedics is a leader in diagnosing and treating all types of bursitis in Williamsport, Lock Haven, Muncy and Wellsboro, PA.