In about 150 spots in the body, small jelly-like sacs, called bursa, containing a small amount of fluid helps reduce friction between bones and soft tissues. If the sac becomes inflamed, tenderness and pain results in a situation called bursitis.
“This condition most commonly affects the knees, hip and shoulder,” says McLeod Orthopedic Specialist David Woodbury, MD. “It can be triggered by a direct blow to the joint, arthritis, side effects from diabetes and certain medications or constant pressure, like kneeling.”
WHO IS AT RISK
Bursitis of the kneecap is often found in plumbers, roofers, gardeners or anyone who spends a lot of time working on their knees. Athletes in football, wrestling or basketball can fall and suffer a blow to their knee, hip or shoulder.
In its early stages, the victim can feel sharp, intense pain. It can feel worse at night. After a while, it can become more of an ache and spread beyond the joint. In the hip, long walks, stair climbing or squatting can worsen the discomfort and, over time, may result in pain when lifting and reaching with some loss of strength and motion.
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE
If your work involves kneeling, wear kneepads, which may also be appropriate in contact sports. Consider alternating activities to avoid long periods of stress on the knees. For hips, lose weight and avoid repetitive activities that stress your hips.
Sources include: McLeod Health, National Institutes of Health, American Academy of Orthopaedics Surgeons, Arthritis Foundation