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Bursitis

At the Hand Center of Louisiana, we often treat patients with bursitis at our New Orleans, LA facility. A common and painful condition, it can result in discomfort and interrupt your daily activities. The timely evaluation and treatment of bursitis can help eliminate your pain and ensure that the condition doesn’t result in more serious trauma and/or complications.

What is Bursitis?

Bursitis is a painful condition that most commonly affects the shoulder, elbow, and hip. Bursitis occurs when the soft tissue (called bursae) near your joints becomes inflamed. Bursae cushion the bones, tendons, and muscles near your joints. Bursitis can also affect the knee, wrist, elbow, heel, and base of your big toe.

Bursitis Causes

Bursitis often occurs near joints that perform repetitive motions frequently and exert pressure on the bursae (soft tissue) around the joint. Other causes may include injury or trauma, or a medical condition such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Bursitis Symptoms

Bursitis symptoms may include one or more of the following:

  • Joint aching or stiffness
  • Redness and swelling around the affected area
  • Increased pain with movement or touch

Severe cases of bursitis may result in sharp, shooting pain during activity; fever; excessive swelling, redness, rash, or bruising; fever; or excruciating joint pain.

Bursitis Diagnosis

Timely treatment of bursitis is important to prevent further trauma to the affected joint. Your physician will perform a medical history and physical exam to diagnose if you have bursitis. Your physician may also order diagnostic testing and/or lab testing.

For diagnostic tests, your physician may order an ultrasound or MRI if your bursitis can’t be diagnosed through physical examination. Your physician may also order an X-ray to exclude other possible causes of your symptoms.

Lab tests may be ordered to identify the cause of joint inflammation and pain.

How to Get Pain Relief with Therapy and Treatment

Treatment of bursitis often calls for resting the affected joint to avoid further inflammation at the affected area. Other conservative methods of treatment may include applying ice to the affected area, or taking an over-the-counter pain reliever to ease the pain and discomfort.

If symptoms don’t improve through these methods of treatment, more aggressive forms of treatment may be required, including:

  • Medication Therapy – Your physician may prescribe an antibiotic if your bursitis is caused by an infection
    Therapy – Physical therapy may be needed to strengthen the muscles in the affected area to decrease pain
  • Injections – Your physician may order a cortisone injection in the affected area to reduce inflammation and relieve pain
  • Assistive support – To relieve pressure on the affected joint, your physician may prescribe the temporary use of a cane or assistive device
  • Surgery – Surgery may be needed in some cases. Surgery may include draining (aspirating) the inflamed bursa, or removing (excision) of the bursa

Our Bursitis Physical Therapists, Rheumatologists, and Specialists

At the Hand Center of Louisiana, our orthopaedic surgeons are highly trained in the treatment of hand and upper extremity conditions, including bursitis. While our orthopaedic surgeons all specialize in caring for bursitis of the hand, wrist, or elbow, Dr. Thomas R. Lyons specializes in treatment of shoulder bursitis. Additionally, our highly trained rheumatologist, Dr. John Nitsche, brings significant expertise in evaluating bursitis caused by rheumatoid arthritis.

In addition to evaluation and treatment, we also depend on the expertise of the hand therapists at Hand Therapy Center, all of whom specialize in treating bursitis through physical therapy.

Request Appointment

Bursitis is a common, painful condition that most often occurs in the shoulder, elbow, or hip, but may also affect other joints, such as the knee, wrist, or base of the big toe. Bursitis often results from repetitive motions, pressure exerted on the bursa (soft tissue) near the affected joint, or a medical condition such as rheumatoid arthritis. Symptoms of bursitis may include joint aching or stiffness, swelling or redness around the affected area, or increased pain with movement.

If you believe you may have bursitis, contact us today using the form below to receive timely evaluation and treatment by our highly trained physicians. They will evaluate your condition and develop the best course of treatment for you, including non-surgical and/or surgical solutions.
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