As warm weather arrives and the great outdoors beckons, more and more men and women will be taking to the trails, the beaches, or their yards and gardens, embarking on physical activities that may result in sore, aching, swollen joints. While it may be tempting to ignore these aches and pains or treat them with a little over-the-counter liniment, a wiser choice is to visit a physician who can determine if the symptoms are due to bursitis, inflammation of the fluid-filled bursae, or sacs, that surround and cushion the joints.
Bursitis occurs when the bursae become irritated or infected, often causing pain on movement. When infection is involved, medical intervention is necessary to fight the underlying infection and prevent it from spreading; when infection is not involved, prompt medical attention can prevent the condition from becoming worse over time.
Four of the most common types of bursitis, affecting the hips (trochanteric bursitis), knees (prepatellar bursitis), elbows (olecranon bursitis) and heels (retrocalcaneal bursitis), are examined in a new review article published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (JAAOS).
"Bursitis is a common cause of musculoskeletal pain and often prompts orthopaedic consultation," said study author Daniel Aaron, MD, a clinical instructor in the department of orthopaedics at Brown University in Providence, R.I. "One of the challenges facing clinicians is to differentiate bursitis from conditions with similar symptoms, including arthritis, tendinitis, fracture, tendon or ligament injury and tumor. Additionally, bursitis arises from infectious and noninfectious causes, and distinguishing between the two can be challenging.
"A thorough history and physical examination is required for accurate diagnosis, and in some cases, medical tests also may be used to help the clinician identify bursitis and determine whether or not infection is involved," he add
|Contact: Lauren Pearson|
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons