Q. I’ve got a really painful elbow – which has also swelled up – what could it be?

A. It may be that you have bursitis. Bursitis is when the area around your joints become painful, tender and swollen. It can usually be treated at home and should go away in a few weeks.

Bursitis happens when the fluid-filled sacs (bursa) that cushion your joints become inflamed.

You might have bursitis if 1 of your joints is:

• painful – usually a dull, achy pain

• tender or warm

• swollen or red

• more painful when you move it or press on it

It can affect any joint, but is most common in the shoulders, hips, elbows or knees.

You can use the following three steps to help bring down swelling and pain:

1.Rest – try not to move the joint too much, and avoid activities that'll put pressure on it.

2.Ice – gently hold an ice pack (or a bag of frozen peas) wrapped in a tea towel on the area for around 10 minutes at a time and repeat every few hours during the day.

3.Elevate – keep the area raised to the level of your heart as much as possible.

Take painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, to ease any pain.

You may also want to put extra cushions around the affected joint while you sleep to help protect and support it.

You can help prevent bursitis by maintaining a healthy weight, clean cuts on to prevent infections, warm up properly before exercising and use padding when putting a lot of pressure on joints – for example, when kneeling.

Q. Please help – I’ve got terrible dandruff?

A. Dandruff is a common skin condition that causes white or grey flakes of skin to appear on the scalp and in the hair.

The flakes are often noticeable if they fall from your scalp on to your shoulders. Your skin constantly produces new skin cells and sheds old cells to stay healthy. Dandruff can occur when this cycle of skin renewal speeds up.

This leads to patches of dead skin forming on the scalp that come away into the hair.

Your scalp may also feel dry and itchy.

The main treatment for dandruff is anti-dandruff shampoo. There are a number of types available to buy from supermarkets or pharmacies.

Look for shampoo containing one of the following ingredients:

•zinc pyrithione

•salicylic acid

•selenium sulphide (or selenium sulfide)


•coal tar

Make sure you read the instructions that come with the shampoo before using it to check if it's suitable for you and see how often it should be applied. A pharmacist can offer advice if you need it.

It's particularly important to leave the shampoo in your hair for at least five minutes before washing it out.

Try these shampoos for a month to see if your dandruff improves. You might need to try more than one type to find one that works for you.

You may be able to use the shampoo less often once your symptoms improve, but your dandruff will probably come back if you stop using it completely.