A Physio's Guide to Bursitis

A Physio's Guide to Bursitis

If you’re feeling significant pain in (commonly your shoulder, elbow or hip) when you move, you may have a condition known as bursitis. Here’s some general information about this condition, as well as how we can assist in treating it.

What is Bursitis?

Bursitis is an inflammation of the small, fluid-filled sacs called bursae. The bursae lie between layers of tissue and work to reduce the friction between the tissues as they move. Commonly seen in the hip, elbow and shoulder, bursitis can develop in many locations throughout the body. The condition occurs when there is an increase in loading.  Increases in activity, direct impact and sustained compression and all contribute to the increased loading.

Less commonly bursitis can arise from infection. Swelling, heat, redness and fever are indicative of infective cases. Infective cases can be a serious condition which should be reviewed by a GP.

Types of Bursitis

Bursitis can have a sudden, rapid onset (acute bursitis) or be a long-term issue (chronic bursitis). The most common types of bursitis and where they are most commonly seen are listed below:

  • Subacromial – Affecting the shoulder. Commonly seen in above head and throwing athletes and people who do repetitive lifting in their jobs or sport.
  • Olecranon – Occurring on the tip of the elbow due to trauma or compression from leaning on your elbow for a long period of time.
  • Prepatellar – Affecting the knee joint, often in people who have to crawl or kneel frequently. Flooring, tiling and carpet layers, are more frequent sufferers of prepetellar bursitis.
  • Trochanteric – Occurring in the lateral hip and is often caused by trauma (falling onto your hip), lying on your hip for extended periods of time, or sports that load the lateral hip.
  • Calcaneal – Affecting the heel, calcaneal bursitis can be caused by shoes that friction on the heel such as ski boot, and with increased loading such as with running or hiking.

What Causes Bursitis?

As mentioned above, it’s a common result from overworking tissue, especially in a sport or situations involving repetitive motion. As a result, physios often see it occurring in athletes as well as people who engage in repetitive activity for work.

Treating Bursitis

Bursitis treatments are usually a combination of medical care and physiotherapy. Your doctor will first address possible underlying medical causes such as infection, joint damage or health issues, and will recommend a combination of medication and medical treatment (if needed) and injury physiotherapy to help improve range of motion, strength, and loading tolerance as needed to resolve the issue and prevent recurrence.

When you visit Form + Function Physiotherapy, your local physio in Richmond, we’ll go over

your medical treatment and give you a comprehensive assessment in order to develop a treatment program that works with the underlying causes of your specific condition. In this way, we work together with your doctor to create a holistic and effective treatment plan.

Depending on the cause of your bursitis and any underlying health conditions, we may recommend:

  • Adjustments to your movement to prevent further bursae irritation
  • Massage for pain relief and to reduce the stress and load on supporting muscles
  • Exercises and techniques to support healing at home, promote recovery and prevent recurrence.

Injury rehabilitation physiotherapy isn’t just about receiving targeted, professional treatment – it’s about empowering you through education to better understand and support your body and overall wellness.

Sports Injury Physiotherapy and Injury Rehabilitation in Richmond

Form + Function Physiotherapy in Richmond offers treatments for all types of bursitis. With a scientific, evidence-based approach, our friendly team will work with you to develop a customised treatment plan. Whether you have developed it due to your work, hobby or sport activities. Contact us or book an appointment online today.