While you may initially bring your concerns to your family physician, he or she may refer you to a doctor who specializes in joint disorders (rheumatologist).
What you can do
You may want to write a list that includes:
- Detailed descriptions of your symptoms
- Information about medical problems you've had
- Information about the medical problems of your parents or siblings
- All the medications and dietary supplements you take
- Questions you want to ask the doctor
For bursitis, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- Are there any other possible causes?
- Will I need to have any tests done?
- What treatment approach do you recommend?
- I have other medical problems. How best can I manage them together?
- Will I need to limit my activities?
- Are there any self-care measures I can try?
- Do you have any brochures or other printed material I can take with me? What websites do you recommend for information about my condition?
What to expect from your doctor
During the physical exam, your doctor will press on various spots around your affected joint to try to determine whether a specific bursa is causing your pain.
Your doctor may also have a number of questions for you, such as:
Sep. 24, 2011
- When did your pain begin?
- Did it begin suddenly or occur gradually?
- What kind of work do you do?
- What hobbies or recreational activities do you participate in?
- Does your pain occur or worsen during certain activities, such as kneeling or climbing stairs?
- Have you recently experienced a fall or any other kind of injury?
- What kind of treatments have you tried at home?
- What effect did those treatments have?
- Sheon RP. Bursitis: An overview of clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and management. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Aug. 4, 2011.
- Schmidt MJ, et al. Tendinopathy and bursitis. In: Marx JA, et al. Rosen's Emergency Medicine. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05472-0..00204-8&isbn=978-0-323-05472-0&uniqId=270872816-2. Accessed Aug. 4, 2011.
- Colburn KK. Bursitis, tendinitis, myofascial pain, and fibromyalgia. In: Bope ET, et al. Conn's Current Therapy 2011. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-0986-5..00022-3&isbn=978-1-4377-0986-5&uniqId=270872816-3. Accessed Aug. 4, 2011.
- Questions and answers about bursitis and tendonitis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bursitis/default.asp. Accessed Aug. 4, 2011.
- Clark BM. Tendonitis. American College of Rheumatology. http://www.rheumatology.org/practice/clinical/patients/diseases_and_conditions/tendonitis.pdf. Accessed Aug. 4, 2011.