The joints in your body are complex, and made up of many different bones and tissues. All these components work together to allow you to move each joint fluidly without pain. However, when the lubricating sacs, called the bursa, become inflamed, it leads to a painful condition known as bursitis.
At Bay Oaks Orthopaedics, serving the Houston, Texas community, our team are experts in many conditions that affect your joints. Dr. Anthony Mellilo is our orthopedic specialist, who offers cutting-edge treatments for many musculoskeletal issues, including bursitis.
Your joints are the areas in your body where at least two bones join together to allow movement. However, there’s more to your joints than just bones. Muscles, tendons, and ligaments also form in each joint to provide flexibility and fluidity to your movement.
In each joint there are several small pouches of fluid, known as bursa sacs. These tiny pouches are formed at the spots in your joints where your bones and other tissues meet. They give the joint lubrication, to prevent friction and pain when you move.
Bursitis occurs when one or more of the bursa sacs become inflamed, usually due to overuse of the affected joint. However, this condition can also come up after an injury. The joints most often affected by this condition are your elbows and knees; however, it can occur in just about any joint in your body.
Although small, the bursa sacs are a vital component to your joint. When they’re inflamed, it causes a number of uncomfortable symptoms that may worsen the more you move your joint.
What are the symptoms?
When you have bursitis, one of the first signs of the condition is pain in the affected joint. There are a lot of other issues that can cause joint pain, so it’s important to understand the other signs of bursitis as well. The other tell-tale signs of bursitis include:
Swelling is especially apparent when the affected bursa are in close proximity to the skin. The inflammation caused by the condition leads to a response from your body to protect the area, which comes in the form of swelling.
If the swelling is severe in your joint, your skin may look red around the area. This can also be true if the bursitis is accompanied by an infection. If you notice that your skin is warm around the red areas, it could mean an infection is present.
Decreased range of motion
Bursitis often causes you to have trouble moving the affected joint. Factors that play into this include joint pain and swelling. The more you try to move the joint, the more aggravated the inflamed bursa become.
Swelling around the area of the bursitis may also lead to tenderness in the joint. This is also true if you have an infection along with bursitis.
If you notice any of the above signs, along with joint pain, you should seek treatment as soon as you can. The longer bursitis is left untreated, the worse it may get.
How is bursitis treated?
If your symptoms are pointing Dr. Mellilo toward a diagnosis of bursitis, he often orders an ultrasound or MRI to detect the inflamed bursa sacs. If an infection is present, Dr. Mellilo also orders blood work and may aspirate a sample of the bursa fluid for analysis.
Treatment for bursitis is generally conservative in nature, depending on the severity of the condition. Ultimately, rest is the best medicine for a mild to moderate case of bursitis. Along with rest, Dr. Melillo often recommends other therapies such as:
- Physical therapy
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Corticosteroid injections
In most cases, these treatments, along with rest and time, can greatly improve the symptoms of bursitis. You’ll also need to make some lifestyle modifications to prevent further flare-ups in the future.
In some cases, bursitis may continue, even with several conservative measures and rest. In this case, Dr. Melillo recommends surgical intervention to repair the damaged bursa in the joint. This is usually only necessary if your symptoms continue for longer than six months with non-surgical treatments.
If you’re exhibiting any of the above signs of bursitis, don’t hesitate to call us today at 281-223-1391, or book an appointment with Dr. Melillo using our convenient online booking tool.