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Physical therapy for bursitis

What is bursitis?

Bursae (pronounced bur-SEE) are small, fluid-filled sacs that cushion the bones, tendons, and muscles around the joints. Bursitis results when one or more of these bursa become inflamed, and is most likely to occur around joints that perform frequent, repetitive motion, though sudden injuries can also result in bursitis.

The condition most commonly occurs around the shoulder, elbows, and hips, but can occur by the knee or heel, or at the base of the big toe. Many patients find that their bursitis flares up and resolves on its own periodically, though physical therapy can help speed recovery time and ward off a recurrence.

Source: Mayo Clinic

Bursitis symptoms

Bursitis causes pain and swelling in the affected area, but the pain can range from gradual and mild to sudden and severe. If calcium deposits are present in the bursa, the pain tends to be more extreme. In some rare cases, patients experience loss of motion in the shoulder, called adhesive capsulitis or frozen shoulder.

Because bursitis can occur almost anywhere on the body, symptoms differ depending on the condition’s location. For example, prepatellar (knee) and olecranon (elbow) bursitis make it hard to bend the arm or leg; trochanteric (hip) and retrocalcaneal (heel) bursitis can cause difficulty walking; and patients with trochanteric bursitis may find it painful to lie on the hip.

The most common symptoms of bursitis include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Thickening of the bursa
  • Limited motion in the affected joint

Source: WebMD and Healthline

What causes bursitis?

While bursitis most commonly results from injury or overuse, different types of bursitis have different causes. For example, knee bursitis is often caused by sports-related injuries or by repeated bending of the knee. Elbow bursitis can be caused by repeatedly resting the elbows on hard surfaces, or by an infection or blow to the elbow.

Hip bursitis is one of the most common forms, and it can be caused by lying on the hips for long periods of time, improper posture, arthritis, infection, or injury. Running, jumping, failing to warm up prior to strenuous exercise, and wearing shoes that are too tight in the back of the heel can all cause heel bursitis.

The most common causes of bursitis include:

  • Overuse of the affected joint
  • Injury to the affected joint
  • Sports- or exercise-related injury
  • Arthritis

Source: Mayo Clinic

Physical therapy for bursitis

The goal of physical therapy is to help the patient return to their normal lifestyle and activities. Because those activities and the severity of the bursitis vary from patient to patient, a physical therapist will create a stretching and strengthening program tailored to each patient’s needs. The physical therapist will then work with the patient to reduce pain, improve motion, strength, and flexibility, and speed recovery time.

A physical therapist will also work with the patient to reduce the chance of recurrence. In order to do so, the physical therapist may recommend healthy lifestyle and exercise habits intended to prevent the bursa from becoming inflamed again in the future. Postural training and daily stretches may be part of this routine.

Source: Move Forward

The best bursitis physical therapists in
the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles

Luna’s physical therapists are experts in decreasing pain and increasing mobility in patients with every variety of bursitis. Our licensed PTs will work with you to create a course of treatment that targets and alleviates your bursitis, be it in the knee, shoulder, hip, heel, or elsewhere.

With Luna, patients can get bursitis treatment at home, at the office, at the gym, or at the location of their choosing. It’s physical therapy, delivered.

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