Bursitis - Treatments

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What is the treatment for bursitis?

The treatment of any form of bursitis depends on whether or not it involves infection. Bursitis that is not infected (from injury or underlying rheumatic disease) can be treated with ice compresses, rest, and anti-inflammatory and pain medications. Occasionally, it requires aspiration of the bursa fluid. This office procedure involves removal of the fluid with a needle and syringe under sterile conditions. It can be performed in the doctor's office. Sometimes the fluid is sent to the laboratory for further analysis. Noninfectious bursitis can also be treated with a cortisone injection into the swollen bursa. This is sometimes done at the same time as the aspiration procedure and typically rapidly reduces the inflammation of the swollen bursa.

Infectious (septic) bursitis requires even further evaluation and aggressive treatment. The bursal fluid can be examined in the laboratory to identify the microbes causing the infection. Septic bursitis requires antibiotic therapy, sometimes intravenously. Repeated aspiration of the infected fluid may be required. Surgical drainage and removal of the infected bursa sac (bursectomy) may also be necessary. Generally, the adjacent joint functions normally after the surgical wound heals.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: JB, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 21

I have been suffering from bursitis for 6-7 months and have, today, had an ultra-scan and steroid injection in both hips. I know it is a little early to say but hips are feeling quite good tonight - bedtime will tell (always the worse). Prior to these injections my doctor has given me course of Naproxen 250 mg (2 tablets a day) and they also seemed to have helped. Like many others, I was referred to Physio therapy to begin with, but unfortunately it only seems to make things worse! I am hoping that the steroid injection works and I can resume some of the activities I loved only last year.

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Comment from: Sherry in Seattle, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: December 13

The day before leaving for Europe for 2 months, I walked up about 150 stairs thinking that I was getting some good exercise. It was a big mistake! Within 3 days, my right hip was so sore that I could hardly sleep or walk. I suffered for the 2 months only seeing a chiropractor in France, whose treatment offered no relief. Upon my return, I was diagnosed with hip bursitis. I entered physical therapy and used ice and anti-inflammatory medicine with little results. About 7 weeks ago, I read about a man who suggested krill oil. He said that it took about 2 months to see results and to be "patient". I started this (500 mg, one a day) and after 7 weeks, the pain is gone. I am really amazed and think that this is probably due to the krill. It's fairly inexpensive, and over the counter. I hope that it may help others, as I know how painful this condition is.

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