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Bursitis – Some ways to prevent it

By definition, Bursitis is caused due to inflammation of bursa sacs – fluid-filled pockets that we have all over our body. The primary function of these pockets known as Bursae is to reduce friction between various components like tissues, ligaments, tendons etc.; they also serve as cushioning for our bones. Most commonly, Bursitis is developed in the areas surrounding elbows, hips and shoulders, but it can also affect our knees or heels in some cases.


  • Shoulders: Can affect one’s shoulder due to lifting something heavy.
  • Elbows: Might stem from repeating the same action repeatedly, like painting or too much computer work.
  • Hips: A radiating pain down the side of one’s leg, can be caused due to running or intense exercise.
  • Knee: Can affect the kneecap and cause swelling due to activities like climbing stairs.
  • Thigh: This type is usually diagnosed in middle-aged women, and can cause complications if they try to sleep on their side.

It is usually attributed to over-exertion of a particular joint that might put pressure on the Bursae. Playing sports like baseball, heavy-lifting, leaning on your elbows or kneeling for an extended period to perform activities like scrubbing, could also be potential causes to trigger Bursitis in some people. 


How do I know its Bursitis?

The symptoms of Bursitis usually include:

- Redness or swelling near the affected joint

- Painful to touch 

- Stiff and achy joints


These are milder symptoms which point towards Bursitis, although one should seek immediate medical attention if the symptoms are harsher, e.g., inability to move, excessive swelling – redness or rash, sharp or shooting pain and fever. Age and occupation can also be contributing factors and hobbies, e.g. if an individual happens to play a sport or an instrument, it could lead to Bursitis due to the repetitive motion. 


How to treat it?

Recovering from Bursitis calls for great rest, icing the joint and medication in some cases. Antibiotics are prescribed when there is an infection present, and Corticosteroids are used to manage pain and inflammation. 

Recovery might take a few weeks on an average, although it would be wiser to stay cautious and take preventive measures. 


Preventive Measures

  • Maintaining a healthy body-weight
  • Using cushions if one has to sit or kneel for a long time
  • Moving around often
  • Warming up before starting a physically demanding activity
  • Maintaining a good posture
  • Avoid doing pain-inducing activities


These are a few ways to delay or prevent the onset of Bursitis, making long-term changes in one’s lifestyle are essential to maintenance and health. In addition to physical activities like massages and stretching, food and diet also play a role in the upkeep of good health. 

People who suffer from, or are developing Bursitis symptoms are advised to stay away from foods like sugar, gluten, Omega-6 fatty acids, saturated fats etc. since these can prove to be inflammatory. Making these lifestyle changes and incorporating healthy habits can help people prevent the flare-ups of Bursitis. 


Yours in self-care,

Adrian Wilk

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