Bursitis in Children: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

A bursa is a small sac of fluid that helps the tissues around a joint slide over one another easily. Injury or overuse of a joint can cause pain, redness, and inflammation in the bursa (bursitis). Bursitis usually gets better if you avoid the activity that caused it. Your child can help prevent bursitis from coming back by doing stretching and strengthening exercises. Your child may also need to change the way he or she does some activities.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Put ice or a cold pack on the area for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Try to do this every 1 to 2 hours for the next 3 days (when your child is awake) or until the swelling goes down. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your child's skin.
  • After 3 days of using ice, you may use heat on the area. You can use a hot water bottle or a warm, moist towel.
  • Have your child rest the painful area. Teach your child to stop any activities that cause pain. Switch to activities that do not stress the area.
  • Be safe with medicines. Give pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave your child a prescription medicine for pain, give it as prescribed.
    • If your child is not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if your child can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • To prevent stiffness, teach your child to gently move the joint as much as possible without pain every day. As the pain gets better, have your child keep doing range-of-motion exercises. Ask the doctor for exercises that will make the muscles around the joint stronger. Help your child do these as directed.
  • Your child can slowly return to the activity that caused the pain, but he or she should do it with less effort until it causes no pain or swelling. Teach your child to warm up before and stretch after the activity.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child gets a fever and chills.
  • Your child has increased swelling or redness in a joint.
  • Your child cannot use a joint, or the pain in a joint gets worse.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • Your child has pain for 2 weeks or longer despite home treatment.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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Current as of: May 23, 2016