Which is worse bursitis or arthritis

Protective layer under pressure - bursitis

When the joint is thick and painful

Most often, bursitis - bursitis in medical terms - occurs where the stress is greatest: on the large joints in the area of ​​the shoulders, elbows, hips and knees.

In the course of the inflammation, more and more fluid forms in the overloaded bursae and it swells noticeably. If a joint is affected, it is very sensitive to pressure, feels hot and significantly loses mobility.

Typical sports and occupational disease

For example, through frequent kneeling or intensive contact sports - a bursitis usually occurs as a result of pressure, violence or falls as well as excessive physical strain. Crime scene often: sport or job. Handball, volleyball and wrestling are considered risk sports. The occupational groups at risk include tilers and cleaning staff.

Obesity, age-related wear and tear or internal diseases, especially inflammatory rheumatic diseases or metabolic disorders such as gout, can also be responsible for the inflammation. Bacterial infection is less common.

This is how the doctor makes the diagnosis

If superficial bursae are affected, the diagnosis is usually made quickly. The doctor often recognizes the inflammation based on the typical swelling. In the case of deeper-lying bursa, in addition to the doctor-patient conversation and the physical examination, ultrasound examinations or magnetic resonance imaging - MRI for short - may also be necessary, possibly also a blood test or a puncture of the bursa to take a tissue sample.

This is how it is treated

Acute bursitis is usually good to treat. Usually there is a significant improvement after just a few days of therapy. However, if bursitis is left untreated, the inflammation can become chronic. In the worst case, a joint can stiffen completely.

First of all, the so-called PECH rule is used: break - ice - compression - put on the chair. The corresponding part of the body is immobilized, bandaged to reduce swelling and, if possible, raised. Ice packs, cooling gel or cool packs are recommended for cooling.

Important: no heat when there is inflammation, it can aggravate the inflammatory processes.

Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs in tablet form or as ointment dressings can relieve pain and inflammatory reactions. An antibiotic is required if you have a bacterial infection. If underlying diseases such as gout or arthritis have favored or caused bursitis, these diseases must also be treated.

If the above measures do not improve the inflammation and there is no bacterial infection, the doctor can also inject cortisone directly into the bursa.

In some cases, it also helps to puncture the bursa and suction out excess fluid.

Mobilize early

If the inflammation and pain have subsided, physiotherapy can be started. It counteracts muscle breakdown, maintains mobility and prevents the patient from falling into an unhealthy posture. Experienced physiotherapists also know various exercises that can be done regularly at home.

Sometimes surgery is needed

If conservative measures do not help in the long term, surgical removal of the inflamed bursa, a so-called bursectomy, can be useful.

Targeted prevention

Do you have an increased risk of bursitis due to your sport or your job? Then here are a few tips:

  • Those who have to kneel a lot at work, such as tilers or cleaners, can reduce the pressure on the knee joints by putting on knee protection while working. In high-risk sports such as volleyball or handball, knee and elbow pads protect against fall injuries. In the office, padded forearm rests take the strain off your PC.
  • Athletes can benefit from professional advice from experienced sports medicine specialists or physiotherapists. In fall or fall training, they learn to roll in such a way that as little punctual impact loads as possible arise.
  • Regular short breaks are important - they let the stressed tissue "breathe" briefly. This is especially true for activities with repetitive one-sided movements.