Inflammation is an important process for your body, as it helps remove microbes and diseases. Essentially, it is a defensive reaction to anything harmful that enters your body.1
However, inflammation can become harmful for you, especially when it becomes acute or, worse, chronic. Diseases such as asthma, bronchitis and rheumatoid arthritis are examples of inflammatory conditions that are harmful to your health.2 Bursitis, another inflammatory condition, is something that can develop throughout your body, especially if you are physically active.
What Is Bursitis and What Causes It?
Bursitis is the inflammation of your bursa, a small sac that helps prevent buildup of friction between a bone and the surrounding soft tissues such as tendons, ligaments, skin and muscles. The specific part of the bursa that becomes inflamed is the synovial membrane, which makes up the entire bursa.3,4
There are various circumstances that can cause bursitis, and one of the most common is repetitive pressure on the bursa, caused by kneeling or running. Trauma or injury to the area can also damage the bursa, causing it to fill with blood and swell. Certain activities are also known to increase your chances of bursitis such as:5
- Falling on your elbow
- Leaning on hard surfaces, thus affecting the elbow bursa
- Lifting items overhead, which can damage the shoulder bursa
Bursitis can also arise from a bacterial infection: Due to the close proximity of certain bursa to the skin, bacteria can enter your body through an open wound or puncture and infect the bursa. Those who have weakened immune systems, or who have HIV/AIDS or lupus have an increased risk of bursitis.
How to Tell if You Have Bursitis
The most significant indicator of bursitis is pain in the affected joint area, such as the pointy end of your elbow. The area may hurt if pressure is applied, even if it's very little. You may also notice redness and swelling. If the situation worsens rapidly, you may not even be able to move your joint at all.6
Learn How to Deal With Bursitis
Bursitis can strike suddenly and unexpectedly, making it a major inconvenience that can hamper your ability to perform your daily work or tasks. If you develop bursitis, one of the first treatment options you should follow is to rest the affected area. This means that you should not do any strenuous activities, because they can damage the bursa further. Applying ice packs may help speed up the healing process.
This guide will introduce you to methods to deal with bursitis. There are specific exercises for commonly affected areas, such as the knee, ankle and shoulder, that can help prevent inflammation from occurring or recurring once you're healed. You will also learn the best foods you can eat to help reduce your risk of bursitis.