What we Treat

Bursitis

At Jamie Bell physiotherapy we treat a number of people who suffer with bursitis and we have extremely good results from our treatment. Bursitis is the inflammation of bursa at different joints throughout the body. Bursae are small sacs filled with synovial fluid and their main function is to prevent irritation between different tissues in the body. They provide a cushioning and a smooth point for muscles and tendons to slide over bone, preventing irritation.

When the bursa become irritated they can become inflamed which can produce an intense deep pain. With continual irritation from tight muscles or abnormal movement, the bursa can become further inflamed and cause further pain. This pain is local to the joint, extremely painful and often described as a deep ache. Pain will be exacerbated with any movement to the particular joint and on a night time which often affects peoples sleep.

There are a number of bursae throughout the body, however there are a select few which are more commonly irritated. When irritated they can cause a deep pain to the specific joint where they are situated. Outlined below is each individual bursa, how it may become irritated and how this may manifest itself:

How can Physiotherapy Help Bursitis?

When treating bursitis it is important for the physiotherapist to consider all the contributing factors to the injury. As the causes are generally multifactorial, it is common for the physiotherapist to use a combination of treatment techniques to treat the bursitis.

At the first instance it is important to follow the PRICE protocol along side anti inflammatory and pain relieving medications (as directed by your doctor or a pharmacist) to allow the inflammation to slow and pain to reduce. After a thorough assessment the physiotherapist can determine which area of the body is contributing to the irritation and provide the most appropriate treatment.

The most common treatment method used is soft tissue massage alongside trigger point release treatment to reduce tightness in the muscle which will reduce tension and pressure on the bursa. As mentioned above in the trochanteric bursitis, tightness to the glute maximus and tensor fascia latae can increase compression on the trocanteric bursa. With massage and trigger point release treatment to these muscles it will reduced the tension in the muscles, and in turn reduce the compression on to the bursa, reducing irritation.

Biomechanical problems can also predispose a joint to developing bursitis. If the joint is not moving within a normal movement pattern then the bursa can become impinged or irritated causing inflammation. This is common in the sub-acromial bursa as mentioned above. By correcting the patient's posture and providing the individual with specific exercises to improve their movement patterns, the bursa can be offloaded and the inflammation will reduce.

Ultrasound has also shown to be beneficial in treating bursitis, it can help encourage tissue repair.

If conservative treatment is not sufficient, ultrasound guided corticosteroid injections can be administered to the bursa. This will need to be completed by your GP or an orthopaedic specialist, however it can provide brilliant relief to the area, reducing pain and improving function.

If you would like to discuss your problem before booking an appointment please give our physiotherapy team a call, we will do our best to help.