Joint Damage Must Be Avoided

Bursitis and tendonitis are two painful injuries that often result from overuse of a joint or tendon, leading to inflammation, swelling and tenderness in the injured area. These conditions usually require a doctor’s examination to make certain there is no infection present. Drug therapy consists of oral anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroid injections. Elastic compression bandages and/or health supports are also used.

Bursitis and ten-donitis are two conditions that should not go untreated.

Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa or fluid-filled space between the joint and the supporting ligaments and tendons of a joint. Large joints such as the hips or shoulder have several bursae. One of the largest bursae is located near the outer tip of the shoulder joint. The bursa acts as a gliding surface for the ligaments and tendons to move over the adjacent bones of the joint. The acromion is the outer end of the spine of the scapula and articulates with the clavicle. With trauma to the area, such as with overuse or strenuous exercise, the inflammation of the bursa can cause severe pain and tenderness and limited range of motion. This is often seen in the shoulder, elbow or knee. Even though mild bursitis may improve without treatment, any pain or tenderness in a joint which lasts more than seven days should be evaluated by a physician to determine the cause. Bursitis is most often associated with overexercise, but it may also be a result of a bacterial infection, rheumatoid arthritis, gout or connective tissue disease. If bursitis is not treated or allowed to heal for a length of time, it may lead to calcium deposits in the involved bursa.

Tendonitis is an inflammation of a tendon that has been injured or strained. This condition often develops in the shoulder, elbow and the achilles tendon. As with bursitis, this inflammation is usually clue to trauma, as occurs in overexercise. Tendonitis can also occur from infection, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis or without an explanation. If the inflammation continues and is not treated, connective tissue begins to develop in the area and eventually the tendon may degenerate and rupture.

Treatment of Bursitis and Tendonitis: Pain, inflammation, swelling and limited ability for movement in any area should always be evaluated by a physician if it is severe or lasts longer than one week. Pain is triggered even by the slightest motion and thus patients tend to keep their arms at their sides. The healing necessary for complete recovery from bursitis or tendonitis can be helped with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen or naproxen or an injection of a corticosteroid. The healing of an inflamed tendon or bursa, however, often takes several weeks to months to complete.

After either of these conditions have developed, it is very important that you understand what activities to avoid and how to perform activities that cannot be avoided so further damage does not occur and the inflammation is allowed to heal. Your doctor may prescribe medication, as well as a compression bandage for a period of time to decrease swelling and support a weak joint. An elastic health support, such as an elbow, wrist, ankle or knee brace, may also be prescribed for support of the area as it heals. Your pharmacist can help you choose the correct fitting brace or health support for your injury.
US Pharmacist
Copyright 2003 Jobson Publishing, LLC