For weeks, your knee has been in pain. You hoped it would go away on its own, but it has not. The pain and stiffness are starting to affect your ability to do your job.
You think you might have either bursitis or arthritis in the knee. But to the sufferer, the conditions can seem identical. How can you tell the difference? And can you get workers’ compensation if what you have is job-related?
The best way to find out what is causing your joint pain is to go to the doctor for a diagnosis. But it can be useful for you to know what you might have.
While the symptoms of bursitis and conditions like osteoarthritis (OA) are similar, there are differences. For example, OA most often develops in the hands, hips and knees, while bursitis often occurs in the shoulders, elbows, heels and big toes, as well as hips and knees. Both conditions cause stiffness and swelling, but bursitis also causes redness around the joint.
The most important difference is how long the conditions last. OA and other arthritis conditions are chronic. Treatment can help manage the symptoms, but there is no cure. With proper treatment and rest, bursitis can be reversed. It only becomes a chronic problem if the patient ignores it or if another condition caused it.
As we have discussed before in this blog, bursitis is a repetitive-stress disorder. Workers’ compensation can cover your medical bills if you can show a connection between your bursitis and your job duties. For example, if your job requires you to raise your arms above your shoulders over and over and you develop bursitis in one of your shoulders, you could have a strong case for workers’ comp while you recover.