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Bursitis and Physiotherapy

We have hundreds of bursa all over our bodies, located usually at places where the surfaces of muscles and tendons glide over bones.

The main functions of bursa is to decrease the resistance and friction between two surfaces and improve glide/gliding movement.

Bursitis is the inflammation of the bursa in our body, decreasing its gliding capability (locking/painful gliding), as well as becoming tender and painful with touch and movement.

What causes bursitis?

Bursitis is usually and primarily caused by

  • repetitive trauma eg repetitive movements/strain
  • external trauma (eg being hit/falling on bursa)
  • pressure on the bursa over time etc

The mechanism is usually trauma (hit/force/pressure) >  that leads to swelling > that leads to inflammation, pain and swelling in the bursa > causing the bursa to lock/glide improperly > learning to more inflammation, pain, tenderness and swelling in the bursa.

In some individuals, there can be conditions that exacerbates the injury, such as arthritis.

What are the usual symptoms of bursitis?

At Phoenix Rehab physiotherapy clinics, we diagnose bursitis by the following observations and findings:

  1. The bursa / area around bursa feels warm, swollen, tender and painful
  2. There is discomfort and pain with movements associated with the bursa

In some cases, the inflamed bursa can become infected, especially when it is injured again and again and again without being able to properly heal.

Signs of bursa infections can include:

  • warmness, swelling around the bursa
  • presence of open wounds near the bursa
  • persistence fever

If you suspect you have a bursa infection, please see a physician immediately.

bursitis Physiotherapy Treatment

Interventions with our senior physiotherapists always begins with the correct and proper measures to protect your bursa from additional damage and additional reinjury - as and where necessary, we may prescribe for your joint to be protected and splinted to protect your injured bursa.

At least until the inflammation, swelling and tenderness decreases.

At the same time, if it's very acute and inflamed, we may refer you to see an orthopedic surgeon to discuss medication (some anti-inflammation medicine can be very helpful to take down the swelling and pain) to be done concurrently with physiotherapy with us.

During this stage, physiotherapy and intervention are focused on:

  • ultrasound therapy to accelerate soft tissue healing
  • retrograde massage to accelerate dispersement of fluids to decrease swelling and edema
  • protective range of motion exercises to gently glide joints, tendons, muscles and ligament to prevent stiffness in- and out-side of the joints

Once the bursitis acute and inflammatory stage is cleared, then we will then progress onto more active stages of physiotherapy, which is the above but added with:

  • active range of motion exercises (mix of protected and gentle mobilizations)
  • education to prevent further injuries and re-injuries

As the bursitis improves and pain and swelling decreases, we will gradually move onto strengthening and resistive exercises to improve:

  • muscle strength and stamina
  • joint stability

Usually there is very little active exercises until the inflammation stage of bursitis has cleared (if not, it may keep triggering the cycle of pain and swelling, prolonging the injury which can cause other conditions).

If the cause of the bursitis is mainly due to conditions such as arthritis (eg gouty arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis etc), then physiotherapy intervention is different - tends to be much more conservative and gentle to prevent aggravation of the condition.

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Phoenix Rehab Physio Services

Phoenix Rehab Group works with specialist physiotherapists and rehab therapists who are highly trained, qualified, experienced and passionate to provide high level of expert care to our patients.


Patients who sustained injuries to their elbows, forearms, hands, wrists (sprains and fractures) and fingers, usually will benefit / require Hand Therapy to

  1. manage and decrease hand pains
  2. improve range of motion, strength and dexterity
  3. increase the function of their hand following injuries or post-operations

Commonly treated hand pain injuries includes


Clinical Pilates is a form of physical exercise that focuses on posture, core stability, balance, control, strength, flexibility and breathing.

It is a system of safe and effective exercises, which meet specific individual needs, to treat a wide range of injuries and conditions.

You may do Pilates as matwork or with the reformer or both, and every session will be customized 100% to your fitness, injury and tolerance.


  • Cupping TCM
  • Auricular Therapy TCM
  • Herbal TCM Medicine & Supplementation


Sports and deep tissue release massage helps to increase nutrient-rich blood flow to tired, tight and tense muscles to accelerate recovery and  shorten downtime / recovery period required.

It also prevents muscles from scar tissue micro-tears (and potential ruptures), and increases muscle performance. Having regular deep tissue and sports massage will keep your muscles healthy and fit with body/movement-confidence.

Read the benefits of regular deep tissue release therapy here.


All our allied health therapists and TCM physicians are fully insured and registered with Allied Health Professions Council (AHPC) and Traditional Chinese Medicine Board (TCMB).

See our entire team here with introductions and their specializations.

At the first session, our specialist physiotherapists will carry out a thorough assessment, helping them to select the most appropriate treatment to help you recover as well as provide treatment in the same session.

Follow up sessions are inline to provide expert treatment for your pain as well as prescribing specific exercises to reduce your risk of re-injury and giving you a long term solution.

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We appreciate you as our valued clients and want you to know that the # 1 way we grow as a clinic / brand is through word of mouth referrals from valued patients like yourself.

We prefer not to rely on advertising - instead, we prefer and appreciate the goodwill and positive reinforcement from patients. When you have the chance, please tell your family, friends and physicians about the positive results and experience you have had in our physio clinics.

book an appointment today
(or check your pains / injuries)

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