About knee bursitis

What is knee bursitis?

Knee bursitis facts

  • A bursa is a fluid-filled sac that functions as a gliding surface to reduce friction between moving tissues of the body.
  • There are three major bursae of the knee.
  • Bursitis is usually not infectious, but the bursa can become infected.
  • Treatment of noninfectious bursitis includes rest, ice, and medications for inflammation and pain. Infectious bursitis is treated with antibiotics, aspiration, and surgery.

What is bursitis?

A bursa is a closed, fluid-filled sac that functions as a gliding surface to reduce friction between tissues of the body. Bursae is plural for bursa. The major bursae are located adjacent to the tendons near the large joints, such as the shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees. When a bursa becomes inflamed, the condition is known as bursitis. Most commonly, bursitis is caused by local soft-tissue trauma or strain injury, and there is no infection (aseptic bursitis). On rare occasions, particularly when the immune system is suppressed, the bursa can become infected with bacteria. This condition is called septic bursitis.

What is knee bursitis?

The knee joint is surrounded by three major bursae. At the tip of the knee, over the kneecap bone, is the prepatellar bursa. This bursa can become inflamed (prepatellar bursitis) from direct trauma to the front of the knee. This commonly occurs when maintaining a prolonged kneeling position. It has been referred to as "housemaid's knee," "roofer's knee," and "carpet layer's knee," based on the patient's associated occupational histories.

What are the symptoms for knee bursitis?

Knee Bursitis signs and symptoms vary, depending on which bursa is affected and what's causing the inflammation.

In general, the affected portion of your knee might feel warm, tender and swollen when you put pressure on it. You might also feel Pain when you move or even at rest.

A sharp blow to the knee can cause symptoms to appear rapidly. But most cases of knee Bursitis result from friction and irritation of the bursa that occurs in jobs that require a lot of kneeling on hard surfaces — so symptoms usually begin gradually and can worsen over time.

When to see a doctor

The bursa that lies over your kneecap can sometimes become infected. Call your doctor if you have a Fever in addition to Pain and Swelling in your knee.

What are the causes for knee bursitis?

Knee bursitis can be caused by:

  • Frequent and sustained pressure, such as from kneeling, especially on hard surfaces
  • Overuse or strenuous activity
  • A direct blow to your knee
  • Bacterial infection of the bursa
  • Complications from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or gout in your knee

What are the treatments for knee bursitis?

The treatment of any bursitis depends on whether or not it involves infection. Aseptic prepatellar bursitis can be treated with ice compresses, rest, and anti-inflammatory and pain medications. Occasionally, it requires aspiration of the bursa fluid. This procedure involves removal of the fluid with a needle and syringe under sterile conditions and can be performed in the doctor's office. Sometimes the fluid is sent to the laboratory for further analysis. Noninfectious knee bursitis can also be treated with an injection of cortisone medication into the swollen bursa. Cortisone injections are sometimes done at the same time as the aspiration procedure.

Septic bursitis requires even further evaluation and treatment. The bursal fluid can be examined in the laboratory to identify the microbes causing the infection. It requires antibiotic therapy, often intravenously. Repeated aspiration of the inflamed fluid may be required. Surgical drainage and removal of the infected bursa sac (bursectomy) may also be necessary.

What are the risk factors for knee bursitis?

Knee bursitis is a common complaint, but your risk of developing this painful disorder can increase from:

  • Prolonged kneeling. People who work on their knees for long periods — carpet layers, plumbers and gardeners — are at increased risk of knee bursitis.
  • Participation in certain sports. Sports that result in direct blows or frequent falls on the knee — such as wrestling, football and volleyball — can increase your risk of knee bursitis. Runners can develop pain and inflammation in the pes anserine bursa, situated on the inner side of your knee below the joint.
  • Obesity and osteoarthritis. Pes anserine bursitis, affecting the inner side of your knee below the joint, often occurs in obese women with osteoarthritis.

Is there a cure/medications for knee bursitis?

Knee bursitis is a condition that causes pain, swelling, and inflammation in the knee. It is caused by the buildup of fluid in the bursa, which is a fluid-filled sac that helps reduce friction between bones and joints.

Medications for knee bursitis are all about reducing inflammation.

1. The first line of treatment is usually ibuprofen, which comes in pill form or as a gel that you can rub on your skin. You should take 1,200 mg of ibuprofen every six hours for the first two days, then taper off to 600 mg every eight hours.

2. If your symptoms don't improve after taking ibuprofen for five days, you can try taking naproxen (brand name Aleve) instead. Naproxen works similarly to ibuprofen and carries the same risks of gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers if taken over a long period of time.

3. Another option is cortisone injections into the fluid-filled sacs within the knee joint. These injections can be effective at reducing pain and swelling in people with mild cases of bursitis, but they need to be repeated every three months to maintain their effectiveness over time.

4. Anti-inflammatory medications: These drugs help reduce inflammation, which is why they're often the first choice for treating knee bursitis. They include ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin) or naproxen sodium (Aleve). Side effects can include stomach problems and an increased risk of bleeding, so they should not be taken during pregnancy or if you have ulcers or other gastrointestinal issues.

Pain in your knee joint,Swelling of your knee joint,Tenderness over your patella - Knee pain when you bend or straighten your knee,Pain when resting your leg on something
Playing sports, especially ones that involve running or jumping,Obesity and being overweight,Osteoarthritis (wear and tear of your joints),Aging (your body will naturally wear down as you get older),Pregnancy
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs),Corticosteroids,Dipyrone,Hyaluronic acid

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