People whose work or leisure activities involve repetitive or strenuous movement, or result in injuries, can experience bursitis. Bursitis can occur in any joint in the body, including the knees, elbows and shoulders. But what is bursitis? And what are some of the common causes and risks for its development?
What is bursitis?
Bursitis is technically defined as the inflammation of a bursa. A bursa is a small sac of fluid located between moving structures such as bones, tendons, muscles and skin. The bursa serves as a cushion for the movement of muscles and tendons over bone and relieves stress on the bones. With over 150 bursae helping us move easily and smoothly, there are many potential areas where discomfort can occur if the bursa becomes inflamed. Although it can limit a person’s range of motion and mobility, bursitis is usually a temporary condition, and does not usually lead to deformity.
Types of bursitis
While bursitis can occur anywhere that a bursa is located in the body, some types of bursitis are more common and have specific names, such as bursitis of the:
Achilles tendon (anterior) – Also known as Albert's disease, this type of bursitis can be caused by injury, disease, or wearing shoes with rigid back support.
Achilles tendon (posterior) - Also known as Haglund's deformity, this ailment occurs primarily in young women and may result from or be exacerbated by movement that presses the soft heel tissue to the hard back support of a shoe, such as high-heeled shoes.
Elbow bursitis - The olecranon bursa is located between the skin and bones of the elbow. Injury or constant pressure on the elbow (leaning on a hard surface, for example) can lead to inflammation of this bursa.
Hip bursitis – Bursitis of the hip, or trochanteric bursitis, occurs more commonly in women and in the middle-aged and older population. Hip bursitis can result from injury, or overuse, and can also stem from spinal abnormalities, arthritis, or surgery.
Knee bursitis – On the inside of the knee, between the shin bone and the three tendons of the hamstring muscles, the Pes Anserine bursa provides cushioning. So knee bursitis may be called Pes Anserine or goosefoot bursitis. Tight hamstring muscles, failure to stretch the hamstrings adequately before exercise, and a turned-out lower knee or leg can lead to this type of bursitis.
Kneecap bursitis – Commonly seen in people who must kneel for their work, such as people in the building trades, this is also known as prepatellar bursitis.
What causes the bursa to become inflamed? And what can you do to avoid bursitis? Continue reading here for more information about how overuse, injury or infection can cause of bursitis.
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