Q:

How do you treat bursitis?

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Quick Answer

The standard treatment for bursitis includes resting, immobilizing the joint, applying ice and using over-the-counter medication to relieve the pain. The Merck Manual indicates a doctor may prescribe stronger analgesics or inject an analgesic and a corticosteroid into the joint if the standard therapy does not bring relief. Physical therapy helps to restore range of motion to the joint.

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Full Answer

A bursa is a fluid-filled sac that prevents bones in a joint from rubbing together. Overuse of the joint or injury to the bursa causes inflammation and pain. While the shoulder bursa is most susceptible to bursitis, the condition affects bursae in the knee, elbow, pelvis and other joints. According to the Merck Index, doctors sometimes use a needle to remove fluid from the bursa to check for possible infection.

The Mayo Clinic indicates that medical professionals sometimes suggest use of an assistance device. Depending on the location of the bursa, walking with a cane or other device provides temporary relief of the pressure on the joint, allowing it to heal.

According to MedlinePlus, repetitive motion is one cause of bursitis. Kneeling or leaning on the elbow for extended periods often results in bursitis. When bursitis pain continues for six months or longer, the doctor may suggest surgery to correct the problem.

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