What Is Knee Bursitis?
The bursas are small fluid-filled sacs situated around the different structures that form your knee joint, which help to reduce the friction during movements and also cushion pressure between the knee bones -the femur and the tibia-, muscles and tendons. Knee bursitis is the inflammation of these small sacs, due to a variety of situations, that cause pain and movement limitation.
Knee Bursitis Common Signs and Symptoms
Since there are different bursas all over your knee, signs and symptoms related to knee bursitis might be different depending on which bursa is affected.
In general, the following signs and symptoms are related to most cases of knee bursitis:
- Pain while moving your knee in some particular directions.
- Swelling around the knee.
- Tenderness sensation.
- Warm or heat sensation when you touch your knee.
Knee Bursitis Common Causes
Most of the time, knee bursitis is the result of constant friction and irritation of the bursas. This condition, usually begins gradually and can worsen over time. Some of the risk factors and activities related to this affection include:
- Constant pressure over your knee, such as kneeling on hard surfaces
- Knee overuses related to some sports like wrestling, football, and volleyball
- A direct trauma over the knee
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Bacterial infection of the bursa
Knee Bursitis Treatment
Knee bursitis treatment depends on the underlying cause of your condition and your symptoms. Usually, knee bursitis has a good response to conservative treatment, but sometimes a more invasive treatment might be necessary.
- Local cold. In order to reduce the knee pain and swelling, you can use local cold packs for about 15 minutes at a time, as long as needed.
- Medication. Pain killers can help you to relieve the pain and to reduce the swelling.
- Antibiotics. In case the knee bursitis is caused by a bursa infection.
- Needle aspiration. Your doctor will aspirate the bursa content directly from your knee, in order to reduce your symptoms by eliminating the excess fluid.
- Corticosteroid knee injections. In case your bursitis is persistent and doesn’t respond to the usual anti-inflammatory medication, your doctor will inject some corticosteroids directly to your knee, in order to reduce inflammation.
- Surgery. As the last resource, surgery is available for those cases resistant to the above treatment options or in case you have a recurring case of knee bursitis. Surgery involves the total removal of the affected bursa.
Recovery Period and Physical Therapy
As a valuable treatment and prevention option, physical therapy might help you to improve your flexibility and to reduce the risk of recurrent episodes of knee bursitis.