This condition occurs when bursa (sacs of fluid that cushion movement between the bones, tendons and muscles at your joints) become painfully inflamed. Usually caused by repetitive movement or prolonged excessive pressure, other causes include acute or chronic infection (notably staphylococcal) or tuberculosis. It can also occur alongside other common joint problems such as arthritis or gout.
The most common area affected is the shoulder but it can also occur at the knees ("Housemaid's Knee"), the buttocks ("Weaver's Bottom" – caused by sitting on hard surfaces for extended periods), elbows ("Miner's Elbow" – today caused by more modern activities such as vacuuming), hips, heels and even at the base of the big toe.
Removing pressure from and/or immobilizing the affected joint can help significantly and with treatment it can be made to disappear within a couple of weeks.
The chances of it recurring are minimized by strengthening your muscles (strong muscles protect joints) through appropriate exercise once the pain and inflammation is gone; taking more breaks during repetitive activities; and cushioning joints to avoid extended direct contact with hard surfaces.
Calcification of soft tissues, especially following trauma, is common. During stress, calcium is drawn out of the bones although the serum calcium may remain normal.
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