What Are Bursitis and Tendinitis?
Bursitis and tendinitis are both common conditions that cause swelling around muscles and bones. They occur most often in the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, or ankle.
A bursa is a small, fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion between a bone and other moving body parts such as muscles, tendons, or skin. Bursae are found throughout the body.
Bursitis occurs when a bursa becomes swollen.
A tendon is a flexible band of tissue that connects muscles to bones. Tendons can be small, like those found in the hand or ankle, or large, like the Achilles tendon in the heel. Tendons help create movement by making the muscles push or pull the bones in different ways.
Tendinitis is the severe swelling of a tendon.
What Causes These Conditions?
People get bursitis by overusing a joint.It can also be caused bydirect trauma. It usually occurs at the knee or elbow. Kneeling or leaning your elbows on a hard surface for a long time can make bursitis start. Tendinitis usually occurs afterrepeated injuryto a certain area such as the wrist or ankle. Tendons become less flexible with age and become more prone to damage.
Doing the same kinds of movements every day or putting stress on joints increases the risk for both conditions. People like carpenters, gardeners, musicians, and athletes often get bursitis or tendinitis.
Infection, arthritis, gout, thyroid disease, and diabetes can also cause swelling of a bursa or tendon. Both bursitis and tendinitis are more frequent the older you get.
Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow
Tennis elbow is an injury to the outer tendon of the elbow.Golfer’s elbow affects the inner tendon of the elbow.
Any activity that involves a lot of wrist turning or hand gripping, such as using tools, shaking hands, or twisting, can bring on these conditions.
Pain occurs near the elbow. It can also travel into the upper arm or forearm.
Shoulder Tendinitis, Bursitis, and Impingement Syndrome
Two types of tendinitis can affect the shoulder. Biceps tendinitis causes pain in the front or side of the shoulder. Pain may also travel down to the elbow and forearm. Raising your arm over your head may also be painful.
Rotator cuff tendinitis causes shoulder pain at the top of the shoulder and the upper arm. Reaching, pushing, pulling, or lifting the arm above shoulder level can make the pain worse.
Even lying on the painful side can worsen the problem. The rotator cuff is a group of muscles that attach the arm to the shoulder blade. This “cuff” allows the arm to lift and twist. Repeated motion of the arms can damage and wear down the tendons, muscles, and bone. Impingement syndrome is a squeezing of the rotator cuff.
Jobs that require frequent overhead reaching and sports involving lots of use of the shoulder may damage the rotator cuff or bursa.
Knee Tendinitis or Jumper’s Knee
If you overuse a tendon during activities such as dancing, bicycling, or running, it may become stretched, torn, and swollen. Trying tobreak a fallcan also damage tendons around the kneecap. This type of injury often happens to older people whose tendons may be weaker and less flexible.
The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle to the back of the heel. Achilles tendinitis is a common injury that makes the tendon swell, stretch, or tear.It’s usually caused by overuse. It can also result from tight or weak calf muscles. Normal aging and arthritis can also stiffen the tendon.
Achilles tendinitis can be a long-term condition.It can also cause what appears to be a sudden injury. When a tendon is weakened by age or overuse, trauma can cause it to rupture. These injuries can be sudden and agonizing.
If the bursitis is caused by an infection, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics. If a tendon is completely torn, surgery may be needed to repair the damage.
Can Bursitis and Tendinitis Be Prevented?
To help prevent swelling or reduce the number of flares, you can do several things.
• Warm up or stretch before exercise.
• Strengthen the muscles around the joint.
• Take frequent breaks from repetitive tasks.
• Cushion the affected joint with foam (knee pads, elbow pads).
• Increase the gripping surface on tools by using gloves, grip tape, or other padding.
• Use an oversized grip on golf clubs.
• Use a two-handed backhand in tennis.
• Use two hands to hold heavy tools.
• Don’t sit still for long periods.
• Practice good posture.
• Position your body properly when doing daily tasks.
• Begin new activities or exercises slowly.
• If you have a history of tendinitis, talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise.
Bowen Therapy is a known effective treatment for these conditions.