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Pain Management Health Center

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How Is Bursitis Treated? continued...

If the condition does not improve in a week, see your doctor.

Your doctor can also prescribe drugs to reduce the inflammation. Corticosteroids, also known simply as "steroids," are often used because they work quickly to decrease the inflammation and pain. Steroids can be injected directly at the site of injury. Injections are often, but not always, effective and can be repeated . However, multiple injections in a several month period are usually avoided due to potential side effects from the injections and the possibility of masking problems that need to be treated differently.

Physical therapy is another treatment option that is often used. This includes range-of-motion exercises and splinting (thumb, forearm, or bands).

Surgery, although rarely needed, may be an option when bursitis does not respond to the other treatment options.


Consult your doctor if you have:

  • Fever (over 102 Fahrenheit) -- infection is a possibility
  • Swelling, redness, and warmth
  • General illness or multiple sites of pain
  • Inability to move the affected area

These could be signs of another problem that needs more immediate attention.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David Zelman, MD on October 17, 2014
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