Bursitis

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:49 pm
Have you ever suffered from miner's elbow, weaver's bottom, or housemaid's knee? Although these problems sound odd, they're forms of a common ailment called bursitis (bur-SIGH-tis). Bursitis is a painful inflammation of a bursa (BER-suh), or a sac of fluid located between your bones, tendons, and muscles near joints, which is typically caused by repetitive movement. 'Miner's elbow,' for example, results from swinging a pick, but you can get a similar inflammation from pushing a vacuum back and forth. The most common site for bursitis is the shoulder, but it can also affect your hip, knee, heel, and the base of your big toe. Bursitis can also stem from prolonged or excessive pressure. A 'weaver's bottom' occurs when a bursa over the bone in your buttocks becomes inflamed, which can be caused by sitting on a hard surface. Even today, you may get 'housemaid's knee' a soft, egg-shaped bump on the front of your knee from kneeling while scrubbing a floor. In some cases, it may be difficult to pinpoint a specific incident that led to bursitis, but in others, the inflammation may stem from an infection, arthritis, or gout. As long as you use simple self-care, bursitis usually disappears within a week or two. You can do this by keeping pressure off of your joint or immobilizing it with a sling or elastic bandage. In many cases, anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen can relieve pain and swelling. You can prevent bursitis from returning by strengthening your muscles, taking more breaks, and cushioning your joints.
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