What is Bursitis?
Bursitis is a common sports injury that occurs with sports
that require repetitive motions. It can be found at the shoulder,
hip, or knee, and if left untreated, can curb sports performance.
Prevention and proper treatment is the key to dealing with this common
What is Bursitis?
Bursitis is an inflammation of your bursa. What, you ask, is a bursa?
The bursa is a fluid filled sack found in many places throughout the
body. It is generally present between tendons and bones, and helps to
reduce some of the friction between these two structures. Common bursa
include the subacromial bursa
shoulder, the trochanteric bursa
in your hip, and the pes
in your knee. All three of these are subject to irritation with sports
What Causes It?
Inflammation occurs when the stresses placed on a tissue are
greater than what the tissues can handle. While inflammation can be
caused by acute trauma (an ankle sprain
), inflammation of the
bursa is considered more a chronic injury.
Repetitive activities like
running, jumping, or overhead throwing are the most common causes.
These repetitive motions cause an increase in the
amount of friction
present between the bursa and the surrounding tendons or muscles. The
bursa becomes irritated, and an inflammatory response occurs.
It is painful, and may produce small amounts of swelling.
Tenderness to the touch, and increased pain with active motion of the
joint is also common.
Since this injury is caused by increased friction between the
bursa and the tendons, proper flexibility
is the key to
injury. As flexibility increases, the tension on the tendons is
reduced, thus reducing the friction created between the bursa and the
tendon. Less stress on the bursa means less irritation. A good warm up
and stretching prior to activity is essential. For extremely tight
joints, stretching 1-2 times a day is also effective for increasing
In addition to flexibility, the use of ice
following activity is also an effective prevention method. For overhead
throwing athletes, and other sports that have repetitive motions, icing
following participation helps to reduce the overall irritation in the
If you are suffering from bursitis, rest from aggravating activities is
the best initial treatment. Decreasing the stress on the tissues
allows for healing to occur, and for the inflammation to settle down.
Application of ice is also an effective treatment.
Ice helps to reduce inflammation, and to relieve pain and discomfort.
Anti-inflammatory medications can also be effective
in treating this sports injury.
Once your symptoms
have calmed down, you should start a flexibility
program to help treat
While bursitis is not as common as tendonitis
or other acute sports
injuries, it can be frustrating and limit your sports performance.
and warm up routines,
as well as preventative use of
can help reduce the occurance
of this injury.
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