Bursitis in the knee

Many parts of the bodies have a bursa. These are small, fluid-filled sacs that sit around the skeleton and tendons. Their job is to act as a form of protection and shock absorber for the skeleton and the tendons during strain. During overstraining, or if the bursa is subject to a powerful shock, the bursa can become irritated and inflammation, or bursitis, can develop. Bursitis in the knee is not dangerous and often goes away on its own. However, it is always a good idea to visit a physician to get a confirmed diagnosis.

Reasons for bursitis in the knee

Bursitis in the knee is caused in many cases by repetitive and uneven motions. Cyclists and runners can be at risk for this because these motion patterns can often overstrain the bursae. Even contact sports, such as soccer, can cause bursitis since the condition can also develop from a powerful shock. However, it is not just during different sports or forms of exercise where bursitis can appear. People who perform very repetitive and strenuous motions at work can also be affected by bursitis in the knee or other joints.

Here is information about bursitis in the hips.

Signs of bursitis

Common symptoms of bursitis in the knee include swelling, redness and pain. The area around the knee can also be painful when moving or applying light pressure. With pronounced bursitis, it can also be painful when trying to stand up or strain the knees. If you want to get your symptoms examined, you should visit a physician who can confirm whether you are suffering from an inflamed bursa.

How to confirm the diagnosis

If you recognize the symptoms caused by bursitis, it can be a good idea to seek medical treatment. Partly to confirm that it is, in fact, bursitis and not some other form of joint disease, and partly to be able to start training. Joint diseases such as osteoarthritis in the knee can produce similar symptoms but have a different type of treatment.

Read more about osteoarthritis.

When it comes to bursitis in the knee, it is often sufficient for the physician to just examine the knee. Sometimes, however, an ultrasound exam may be needed. If the bursitis is suspected to be due to a bacterial infection, it may be necessary to examine the fluid in the bursa by puncturing the bursa and analyzing the fluid. However, this is only done in exceptional cases.

Treating bursitis in the knee

In most cases, pain from bursitis often goes away on its own, but in some cases, treatment may be needed. The first step in treating an inflamed bursa is simply to avoid straining the joint too much. That being said, gentle physical activity that does not expose the joint to strain can foster healing. If the pain does not go away, it can be treated using non-prescription, pain-relieving medication. Physical therapy and stretching exercises are also important to prevent bursitis from returning.

Further treatment

If the anti-inflammatory preparations do not have the desired effect, a physician should re-examine the knee. Sometimes, cortisone injections into the bursa can produce positive results. Cortisone works quickly to reduce inflammation and provides pain relief that makes it easier to move the joint. Continuing to move the knee is a very important part of treatment for bursitis. Sometimes, the cortisone treatment needs to be repeated. Even though treatment for bursitis in the knee can take time, most people recover completely.

In unusual cases, when the bursitis is due to a bacterial infection, the physician must tap the fluid in the bursa and flush it clean. Then the patient undergoes treatment with antibiotics.

Inflammation of the bursa in the knee can be painful, and it can take several months before it is fully healed. A person who is suffering from bursitis should therefore try to avoid the condition developing again. It is important not to strain the knee to hard and to stop training if there is pain in the knee. For bursitis, the joint should not be exposed to strain, rather get rest and healing.

Continue reading about meniscus injuries.