What is Bursitis? - An Overview

What is bursitis?

Etymologically, bursitis can be defined by breaking the word into its root word, “bursa” and suffix “itis”. Bursa is a Latin word which means purse, but anatomically, bursa refers to a closed pouch-like structure containing fluid, located at joints between tendons and bones, skin and bones etc.

“Itis” means inflammation, and one can therefore conclude that bursitis means inflammation of the bursa. The plural of bursa is bursae and these bursae are located between bones, tendons, muscles, and ligaments to prevent friction that could arise due to constant pressure applied to the joints.

There are more than 150 bursae present in the human body and the most commonly affected ones are those located in the shoulders, elbows, hip, knees, and ankles.

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A note about What is Bursitis? - An Overview

In natural health and healing, we believe in holistic health and healing, as we realize that different parts of the human body are highly interlinked, often beyond Man's understanding. We also believe that the body has the ability to heal itself of any disease, even supposedly incurable diseases.

In order to do so, the body needs the support of some basic dietary and lifestyle good health habits, such as a full body detox and a proper understanding and application of nutrition. No matter how remote or unrelated a health condition may seem, these fundamental health steps will greatly magnify the effects and benefits of any of our health-promoting efforts, including the use of specific natural health remedies.

Types of Bursae and Bursitis

In order to better comprehend the question ‘what is bursitis’ and the various types of bursitis, it is important to first understand the different kinds of bursae. Depending on their anatomy and physiology, bursae can be broadly classified into to the following categories:

Anatomical bursae: These are the regular bursae which are found between the skin and tendons or muscles and bones etc.

Adventitious bursae: Bursae that develop in areas where there were no bursae before are referred to as adventitious bursae.

What is bursitis? Inflammation occurring to either of the above bursae is called bursitis and the different types of bursitis are described below. These arise due to different causes of bursitis.

Types of Bursitis or Causes of Bursitis

What is bursitis? Bursitis can be understood by its cause.

Traumatic Bursitis

Bursitis caused by an injury to the bursa is referred to as traumatic bursitis. Traumatic bursitis can be further classified into two types: Acute traumatic bursitis and chronic traumatic bursitis.

As the name suggests, acute traumatic bursitis is caused by a sudden injury to the bursa. An example for acute traumatic bursitis could be inflammation of the bursa near the Achilles tendon due to sudden extensive exercise.

Chronic traumatic bursitis, on the other hand, develops over a period of time due to injury caused by constant and frequent straining of one particular joint or area. An example for chronic traumatic bursitis is carpet-layer’s knee, where the bursa in the knee gets inflamed due to repeated strain on the knee.

Infective Bursitis

Bursitis that occurs due to an infection is called infective bursitis. This again can be classified into acute infective bursitis and chronic infective bursitis.

Acute infective bursitis is caused by certain strains of bacteria which are present in the skin injuries or abrasions. An example for acute infective bursitis is olecranon bursitis. Olecranon is the small projection present at the tip of the elbow. Bacterial infection of this bursa is therefore called olecranon bursitis.

Chronic infective bursitis is extremely uncommon and is caused due to a chronic infection, an example for the same is trochanteric bursitis caused by tuberculosis. Trochanter is the area near the side of the hip. When a patient gets tuberculosis of the bursa present between the trochanter and the tendon, the condition is called trochanteric bursitis.

Non-infective Bursitis

Non-infective bursitis can occur in relation to certain other conditions like arthritis and gout.

Bursitis mostly occurs in the joint areas, especially in the knee, ankle, elbow, shoulder, and hip - this is because of constant and repeated wear and tear in these areas.

This article would have given an overview of ‘what is bursitis’. For a better understanding of ‘what is bursitis’, do read the other related bursitis articles.

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