Bursitis: “My GP says I have bursitis, what should I do?”

Many people are referred to physiotherapy with bursitis. But what does this mean and what can we do about it?

We have many bursae in our body. These fluid-filled padding cushions protect the space between bony, tendon, or muscle structures. Bursae can be either isolated structures or a space between structures that has just filled with fluid. They are always present in some areas while in other areas, they exist only when there is a lot of fluid in that area due to swelling.
Bursitis is the inflammation of a bursa. This can happen due to a direct blow to the bursa (this will happen if you hit your elbow or the front of your knee and develop an isolated swollen lump). More commonly though, bursitis will be the result of poor posture and inadequate muscle strength and control, leading to an overload of a bursa. Common examples of this are shoulder bursitis, bursitis on the outside of the hip, and iliotibial band bursitis on the outside of the knee.

Hence, what do we do about bursitis? Quite a common strategy to manage bursitis is to inject bursae with cortisone. The may be a good short term fix. However, very commonly, the pain will return unless the cause of the bursitis is addressed. As physiotherapists, we tend to focus on correcting the posture and technique to decrease compression over the bursa by doing strengthening exercises to improve the control and strength around the joint as well as by addressing any muscle tightness with massage and dry needling.
Bursitis can take time to resolve. It often takes 12 weeks of strength and posture exercises to make long term changes around the joint. Treating the cause of the issue though can bring about long-lasting results.
Any questions about that achy shoulder or hip? Give us (Ascend Physiotherapy) a call at 9387 2699 and we will find its source.