What is Bursitis?

Bursitis is a common injury Osteopaths & Physiotherapists see everyday! Bursitis is the inflammation of a bursa which is a fluid-filled sac that works as a cushion and gliding surface to reduce friction between tissues of the body, such as tendons and muscles.

There are bursae all over our bodies, the major ones are located in close proximity to big joints of our bodies, such as shoulders, hips, knees and elbows. When a bursa becomes inflamed (bursitis), it becomes irritated and swollen, which can be debilitating and painful, particularly when compressed.

Common symptoms of bursitis

Limited range of motion
This happens as the bursa often occupies a space close to a joint, which can compress the irritated bursa making it painful. Furthermore, bursitis has a direct effect on the joints ability to move through its full range of motion.

Feeling of warmth/heat & Swelling
When structures are impacted within the body such as bursitis, the body’s temperature will naturally rise to trigger an inflammatory response. Inflammation plays an important role in starting a healing process.

Pain with compression
This is a common diagnostic tool practitioners use to diagnose bursitis. As the bursa is inflamed,
compression of the bursa reproduces a sharp pain. Pain will also be reproduced on certain movements depending on which bursa in the body is inflamed. This can also happen with activities of daily living. As an example, somebody presenting with left-sided shoulder bursitis may find it difficult to lie on their left side in bed, as lying on the left side will compress the irritated bursa.

We are lucky to have a great lifestyle living close to the beach. However, a common aggravator
of bursitis is unsteady surfaces such as soft sand. Walking over unsteady surfaces causes compression of the irritated bursa, specifically hip bursitis in this case.

Bursitis can present in a number of different ways:

  • Occupations that require repetitive movements
  • Occupations that are labour intensive
  • Overuse
  • Direct trauma
  • More common in the older populations
  • Repetitive compression movements- such as repetitive kneeling
  • Strength deficit leading to bursitis

What are some management strategies to reduce my pain and get me back to my best?

It is a great idea to see a health professional such as an Osteopath or Physiotherapist at 13th BHS if you have any of the symptoms stated above. You’ll receive an accurate diagnosis, treatment and management plan to get you out of pain and back to what you enjoy doing!

Bursitis responds really well to:

  • Hands on treatment- The body loves to compensate to offload the irritated bursa. This can lead to secondary problems if they aren’t addressed!
  • Strengthening relevant areas to offload the irritated bursa
  • Modifying activities of daily living that aggravate the irritated bursa
  • Ice

In almost all cases, there is a strength deficit that leads to an inflammation of a bursa, causing bursitis. A home strengthening program can be tailored based on any deficits found in the assessment. It’s important to strengthen this area to offload the bursa so it doesn’t cause pain. Furthermore, it is really important as a preventative measure to strengthen this area as it will decrease the likelihood of it coming back!

What do we offer at 13th Beach Health Services?

At 13th BHS we strive to provide the best outcomes for patients. Our Osteopaths and Physiotherapists are well equipped to get you out of pain and back to what you love doing most! If you are suffering from bursitis, our practitioners will provide a combination of hands on treatment, strengthening exercises to specifically offload the irritated bursa, modify your activities of daily living contributing to your pain and equip you with management strategies to settle your bursitis down. Additionally, we love to go above and beyond to transition you back into what you enjoy doing most, whether that’s getting you back into the surf, back to local sport or back in the garden.