Bursitis is inflammation and swelling of a bursa, often caused through injury or repetetive movement. A bursa is a fluid-filled sac which forms under the skin, usually over the joints and acts as a cushion between the tendons and bones.
Any bursa can become inflamed, but Bursitis most commonly occurs in the shoulder, elbow, knee (known as housemaid’s knee) and the hip. Other areas affected can include the ankle, foot and Achilles tendon, which is the large tendon that attaches the heel bone to the calf muscle.
The main symptoms of Bursitis are pain, swelling and tenderness in the affected area.
Your risk of developing Bursitis is increased if you regularly take part in physical activities that involve a lot of repetitive movement, for example running (Bursitis in the ankle) or playing darts (Bursitis in the elbow).
People who spend a lot of time kneeling, such as carpet fitters and gardeners, also have an increased risk of developing Bursitis in their knee.
Rest the affected area, using an ice pack will help to reduce inflammation and anti-inflammatory and pain medications, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen will help relieve your symptoms and speed up your recovery.
The pain usually improves within a few weeks, but the swelling may take longer to completely disappear.
Occasionally Bursitis requires aspiration of the bursa fluid. This procedure involves removal of the fluid with a needle and syringe under sterile conditions. This will require a visit to the doctor.