woman suffering from septic bursitis

Septic bursitis is a painful type of joint inflammation. This relatively common condition may be mild or severe. Severe bursitis is a very dangerous medical condition, so it’s important to understand the symptoms, causes and treatment of this ailment.

Septic Bursitis Defined

Septic bursitis is a condition that affects the bursae. The bursae are little fluid-filled sacs which function as cushions between muscles, tendons, bones and joints. Over 150 of them provide lubrication through the synovial cells that align with them. This lubrication is what makes our joints move smoothly.

When these sacs swell up and get inflamed, the resulting condition is called bursitis. This condition is very painful because of inflammation. Different joints in the body, including the knees, hips, and ankles, may be attacked by bursitis. The condition may also develop in the shoulders, elbows and buttocks. When bursitis develops in the knee, it’s known as “clergyman’s knee.” Some people also call it “housemaid’s knee.” If bursitis occurs at the elbow, it’s known as “tennis elbow.”

When a bursa is inflamed and infected, it’s called “septic bursitis.” A bursa can become infected when harmful bacteria enter it via a cut, puncture or insect bite. It’s also possible for the infection to come from other parts of the body. In such cases, the origin may be unknown.

While aseptic (non-infected) bursitis may be a common condition that can be treated at home, septic bursitis is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.

What Are the Causes of Septic Bursitis?

Some conditions and medications can weaken the immune system and hinder the body’s circulatory function. This, in turn, makes individuals more susceptible to developing septic bursitis. This includes people who are living with cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Joint overuse and infection from rheumatoid arthritis may also lead to bursitis.

What Are the Symptoms of Septic Bursitis?

The symptoms of septic bursitis include:

  • Local joint pain
  • Swollen joint
  • Joint warmth and redness
  • Bursa tenderness
  • Fever
  • General feeling of sickness

Which Treatment Options Are Used for Septic Bursitis?

The type of treatment recommended by your physician for septic bursitis depends on the severity of the symptoms. It’s difficult to tell the difference between aseptic and septic bursitis. As a result, it’s better to consult your doctor immediately for treatment.

For septic bursitis, your doctor will take fluid samples from the affected joint to test for infection. Once the test shows that the condition is septic, your doctor will prescribe antibiotic treatment to stop the infection from spreading to other parts of your body through your blood. Usually, oral antibiotics will suffice to treat the condition, but if the infection is very severe, your doctor may recommend that antibiotics be taken intravenously.

Make an Appointment to Treat Septic Bursitis

Don’t stay at home and continue to endure the pains of septic bursitis. Give us a call now to make an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon at OrthoBethesda. We’ll help you treat your condition and show you how to prevent it from reoccurring.