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Bursitis: 7 Tips to Prevent It


By Kieran Loving, ATC

What is bursitis? To start defining this, let’s consider this question: why don’t your bones grind away to dust when you exercise or just move during the day? It’s two bones sliding on top of each other. That can’t be good, right? But our bodies are amazing and have been equipped to deal with this because we have ‘joint pillows’.

Bursae are thin, lubricated cushions located at points of friction between a bone and the surrounding soft tissue. These sacs cushion and lubricate so that we our bones don’t grind away. However, there are times these sacs get irritated and inflamed and cause a problem called bursitis. Bursae are found all over your body including the shoulders, knees, hips, heels and elbows.

Bursitis occurs when bursae become inflamed and usually is associated with the following symptoms:  

  • Aches or stiffness
  • Increased pain when you move that body part or or press on it
  • Swelling or redness in the area

Bursitis most commonly effects the following body parts:

  • Shoulders
  • Knees
  • Hips
  • Heels
  • Elbows

While not all types of bursitis can be prevented, you can reduce your risk and severity of flare-ups by changing the way you do certain tasks. Here a few examples:  

  • Use kneeling pads: Use some type of padding to reduce pressure on your knees if your job or hobby requires a lot of kneeling.
  • Lift properly: Bend your knees when you lift. Failing to do so puts extra stress on the bursae in your hips.
  • Wheel heavy loads: Carrying heavy loads put stress on the bursae in your shoulders. Use a dolly or a wheeled cart instead.
  • Take frequent breaks: Alternate repetitive tasks with rest or other activities.
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight places more stress on your joints.
  • Exercise: Strengthening your muscles can help protect your affected joint.
  • Warm up and stretch: Doing so before strenuous activities to protect your joints from injury.

Physical therapy can help create a plan and implement techniques that can help you return to daily activities if you have bursitis. It starts with a thorough, personalized evaluation to determine the exact points in your life that are causing your bursitis. Our therapists at Loudoun Sports Therapy Center will talk with you about all the following areas to determine the best plan of care for you:

  • Work
  • School
  • Exercise
  • Sports
  • Working on home improvement projects
  • Grocery shopping
  • Lifting mechanics
  • Standing for long periods of time

Let Loudoun Sports Therapy Center help you handle your bursitis and get back to the things you love to do pain free! Call 703-450-4300 and CLICK HERE for some stretches you can start incorporating into your daily life.

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