Health MattersSports Injuries

Bursitis and How to Prevent It Before Your Next Pick-up Basketball Game


Bursitis can be painful and makes movement difficult, but there are ways to prevent it so that you are at the top of your game during your next basketball pick-up game.

What is Bursitis?

Bursitis refers to the inflammation of the bursa – a small, fluid-filled cushion that is meant to protect certain joints. The bursa is specially designed to allow your muscles, bones, and ligaments or tendons to move each other while protecting them from friction. They are not indestructible, however, and too much heavy friction can irritate them and cause pain. This can take a toll on your body and really dampen your abilities when you are trying to play a pick-up game with friends.
The most common symptoms of bursitis include pain that increases when you move your joints or put pressure on them, tenderness at the sight of the inflammation, swelling, and inability to move the joint.

While any joint on the body can be affected, the most common areas are ankles, knees, hips, and elbows. In fact, bursitis in the knee and elbow are so common that they have been given everyday names like “clergyman’s knee” or “tennis elbow.”

The best way to treat bursitis is to rest and remove the strain from the affected joint. This should reduce the level of discomfort and applying ice to the area can help reduce swelling and irritation. Depending on the severity of your bursitis, your doctor may recommend some medication to relieve pain and reduce swelling.

Surgery to treat bursitis is very rare and unlikely to be needed. The only time surgery would be necessary is if the condition is quite severe and traditional methods are not working to remedy the condition.

How to Prevent it During Your Next Pick-Up Game

While bursitis can be painful and limit your ability to play basketball, measures can be taken to prevent the condition from developing. For starters, make sure you are wearing the right footwear. Using shoes that have a cushion and proper support can relieve the pressure on your feet and ankles, and additional orthotics and padding can help with increased stabilization.

Before you start your pick-up game, take a few minutes (at least 5 to 10) to warm up and stretch. You can walk or slowly jog, or even do some stationary stretches to prepare your muscles to play. This can help you avoid strains and injuries to your muscles and joints. After you’re done shooting hoops, you should cool down and do some additional stretches to help your muscles recover.

Some other preventative measures you can take include working to strengthen the muscles around the joints you feel are most susceptible to bursitis. This can give your joints some extra support and provide extra protection against injuries. Similarly, exercising regularly can help you maintain a healthy weight, and this can also prevent bursitis as being overweight puts extra stress on your joints.

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