What is bursitis in the knee and how to treat

Knee bursitis consists of the inflammation of one of the pouches located around the knee, whose function is to facilitate the movement of tendons and muscles over bony prominences.

The most common is anserine bursitis, also known as goose-foot and is located on the medial part of the tibia, just below the knee and below the joint tendon, causing severe pain when climbing a ladder, for example. The treatment of bursitis consists of preventing the aggravating situation, rest of the affected part, administration of an anti-inflammatory when appropriate or local injection of corticosteroids.

Signs and symptoms

The signs and symptoms of knee bursitis can vary, depending on the bursa that is affected and the factor that causes the inflammation. The most frequent symptoms are tenderness, swelling and feeling of heat in the affected part of the knee and pain when making some movements, such as climbing the stairs, for example.

Possible causes

Knee bursitis can be caused by several factors, such as:

  • Bacterial infection of the bursa;
  • Excessive frictional forces that can occur during physical activity;
  • Injuries, such as falls or blows to the knee;
  • Diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis or gout;
  • Excessive pressure on the knee;
  • Obesity.

In addition, working on your knees on hard surfaces for prolonged periods or playing sports in which the knee often falls, can also lead to the formation of bursitis.

How the treatment is done

Knee bursitis is curable and treatment can be done in several ways. During treatment, the joint should rest, apply ice to the site and, if necessary, take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen, to relieve pain and swelling and to elevate the knee when possible or to compress with a knee elastic or elastic bandage.

Physiotherapy is also a good treatment option, because good results are usually obtained, as it helps to reduce the inflammation process, relieves pain and reduces the burden on inflamed bursae.

In addition, the doctor may also administer antibiotics if it is an infection of the bursae and an injection with corticosteroids or an aspiration to remove excess fluid and reduce inflammation. Although it is rare, when knee bursitis does not respond to any other treatment, it may be necessary to resort to surgery to remove the affected bursa. See more about the treatment of bursitis.

Exercises for knee bursitis

There are exercises that can help treat knee bursitis that help to strengthen and stretch your muscles.

1. Stretch your hips on the wall

The person should lie on his or her back near an open door and stretch the uninjured leg directly forward on the floor and lift the injured leg against the wall next to the door frame. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.

2. Stretch your muscles

Increasing knee flexibility helps not only in treatment, but also in preventing bursitis. To do this, stretch the muscles of the back of the thigh and knee for about 20 minutes, at least twice a day. For this, the person can sit and try to reach with his hands at his feet until he feels slight discomfort, but without going beyond that point to avoid causing injury.