NCTV Episode 87

Continuing with the series of bitesize health tip videos which can be found here on my YouTube Channel, this episode, includes:-

  • What is Bursitis?
  • What causes it?
  • How do you treat it?
  • How do you prevent it?
  • Questions, questions, questions!


If you’d prefer to read the content within, rather than watch the video, then feel free to read the transcript, as follows:-

Hello and welcome to NCTV Episode 87 which is all about bursitis.

First thing’s first, what is bursitis? Simply put, it’s inflammation of a bursa causing pain, heat, sensitivity and discomfort at the affected location which then limits joint movement.

Next question – What is a bursa? These are fluid filled, jelly-like sacs around your joints, surrounding the area where skin, muscles and tendons meet the bone. Their role is to lubricate and protect the joint from friction and irritation during movement.

So this begs the next question why do bursae inflame? Most commonly, this is down to injuries or direct damage however the causes can vary depending on which bursa is affected.

So there’s more than one I hear you ask? The answer is yes, over 150 of them to be precise and before you ask the next question, they’re basically all over the body but the main ones are located in the large joints such as the shoulders, elbows, hips and knees.

Back to the causes now, and if we take 5 of the most common forms of bursitis then it’s easier to highlight how they inflame:-

So firstly if we take olecranon bursitis, this occurs on the elbow and is typically caused by repeatedly resting on them, pushing yourself up off them or even from a hard blow to the elbow. In some cases, infection as well as gout could be the cause. Bursitis here tends to be chronic i.e., long lasting.

Next is prepatellar bursitis which occurs just over the kneecap and can be from damage to the kneecap although it could also be from sport related activities, bending the knee repeatedly, resting on your knees for long periods of time, infection or actual bleeds within the bursa.

Onto trochanteric bursitis which occurs directly over your hip bone and this could occur due to lying on your hip for long periods of time, direct injury, improper posture while sitting or standing or any condition that affects the bones such as arthritis.

Retrocalcaneal bursitis is another common one which occurs at the back of the heel, usually due to running, jumping, or other repetitive activities. Failing to warm up properly before a strenuous exercise is another cause, as well as shoes that are too tight and rub at the back of the heel.

Another relatively common one is subacromial bursitis and this can be felt at the side or front of the shoulder and is due to repetitive overhead tasks, trauma, general overuse, arthritis and posture to name a few things.

Onto a general type of bursitis which is not specific to a particular area is septic (or infectious) bursitis, which can happen when bacteria is directly introduced to a bursa through a wound in the surrounding skin. Skin infections and cellulitis can also lead to this. Blood or joint infections can also spread to the bursa and cause septic bursitis.

So now we know what bursitis is, where it can be located and how it comes about, all we need to know is how to deal with it.

To relieve bursitis, there are several methods such as rest, pain medication, icing the joint or aspirating it which can help. However, other treatments may be necessary such as:-

  1. The use of antibiotics if the bursa is infected
  2. Corticosteroids to relieve the pain, inflammation and swelling, as long as there’s no infection involved
  3. Also, exercises
  4. And hands-on physical therapy may help to relieve pressure on the affected joints and bursa.

As I’m sure you know, prevention is better than cure but can you always prevent bursitis? The answer to that one is no although you can reduce the risk by making some lifestyle changes, you can also prevent flair-ups by:-

  1. Maintaining a healthy weight to avoid putting extra pressure on the joints
  2. Exercising to strengthen the muscles supporting the joints
  3. Taking frequent breaks when performing repetitive tasks
  4. Warming up before starting strenuous activities
  5. Practicing good posture when sitting and standing and use padding where necessary
  6. And stopping an activity if you experience pain

Finally, the prognosis or long-term outlook for bursitis can be good with treatment, however, it can also become chronic if it’s not treated appropriately or if the underlying health problem can’t be cured, and therefore, occasionally, surgery may be required.

So there we have for this week’s bitesize bits to help your health flourish, see you next time, bye bye!