Causes Of Bursitis

Written by James Lyons
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What causes bursitis? If you know how you can get bursitis, then you can create ways to avoid it. Infection, trauma, and crystal deposits are the most common causes of bursitis. Other pre-existing conditions like arthritis or tendonitis can trigger the onset of bursitis, but trauma, infection, and crystal deposits remain the three most common causes.

Trauma is perhaps the most common cause of bursitis. A number of athletes put their bodies under consistent trauma--throwing, running, jumping, hitting, falling, leaping, etc. Professional baseball pitchers throw thousands of balls every year and this repetitive stress to the shoulder and elbow can cause the blood vessels to widen. The bursa sac then lets in external fluid and later reacts by becoming swollen. This then affects the nerves in that region, creating a potentially painful environment. A direct, intense, traumatic blow to one of the joints can also trigger bursitis.

Infections and Crystals

Septic bursitis occurs when bursae are infected with foreign organisms. This is more common in the bursae near the surface of the skin and is far more common in men. Eighty-five percent of septic bursitis cases occur in men. Staphylococcus epidermis is a common bacteria found on the skin that's often responsible for infecting bursae sacs. In addition, diabetics, alcoholics, and steroid users are more susceptible to septic bursitis.

Crystal deposits in the joints are also a common cause of bursitis. People who have rheumatoid arthritis, gouty arthritis, or scleroderma have a greater risk of developing bursitis due to crystal deposits. Scientists are still learning how this occurs. Basically, as the body goes through its normal metabolism, it generates uric acid as a byproduct. In some cases, the uric acid does not break down and crystallizes instead. The crystals then settle in the joints, causing bursitis in many instances.

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