Those who regularly place pressure on their knees, like athletes or gardeners, are at risk for developing bursitis knee. No one wants to deal with the pain, swelling, and loss of mobility associated with bursitis. But thankfully, treatment options are simple and effective. With early diagnosis and implementation of at-home treatments, your knee will be feeling better in no time. Keep reading to learn what causes bursitis knee, common symptoms, and how to treat and prevent it—so you can keep doing the things you love.
What is Bursitis Knee?
Bursitis of the knee, or lateral knee bursitis, is inflammation of the bursa—a tiny, fluid-filled sac that reduces friction during joint movement and relieves the impact of pressure points in the knee. Bursitis knee most commonly develops in the prepatellar bursa, subcutaneous prepatellar bursa, and superficial infrapatellar bursa.
Bursitis knee is inflammation of fluid-filled sacs in the knee joint and can occur in different areas of the knee. ( Image Reference)
What Causes Bursitis of the Knee?
There are a handful of bursitis knee causes. Damage to the bursa leads to swelling and discomfort. Some of the primary causes of bursitis in knee include:
- Wear and tear
- Poor posture that affects body mechanics and the pressure placed on the knee
- Underlying medical conditions like diabetes, rheumatism, or gout
- Sustained pressure on the bursa
- Overuse of a particular joint
- Respective motions
- Complications from illnesses or injuries
A sharp, sudden blow to the knee, or just walking through the house, could trigger bursitis of the knee. Onset may be gradual or very severe. If you suspect you have bursitis knee, talk to your doctor for a professional diagnosis and to determine the best treatment plan for you.
Who is at Risk for Bursitis Knee?
Knee bursitis is fairly common, but some groups of people are more likely to develop the condition than others. Those at high risk include:
Athletes, runners, and those who regularly perform high-impact exercise are at a higher risk for developing bursitis knee. ( Image Reference)
Runners and athletes place pressure on the knees and often risk direct impact and injury. Athletes are among the most frequent sufferers of bursitis in knees.
Those who work on their knees for extended periods or who place pressure on them regularly are at a greater risk of developing bursitis. This includes plumbers, gardeners, flooring installers, and carpenters.
More weight means increased pressure on the bursa, which often triggers bursitis. Obese people often experience knee pain, along with additional health risks.
Those with Underlying Conditions
Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other illnesses that affect the joints lead to an increased risk of inflammation and bursitis.
What are Knee Bursitis Symptoms?
Early identification can help reduce the severity of bursitis and make it easier to control. Identifying symptoms of knee bursitis is very important for a speedy recovery—and for managing the injury without invasive treatments. Here are common symptoms of bursitis in the knee.
- Noticeable swelling in the knee
- Localized pain and tenderness
- Stiffness and reduced mobility
- Warmth in the knee, particularly in the area around the bursa
- Difficulty supporting body weight
- Pain even during rest, which often increases during movement
Remember, symptoms of bursitis in the knee vary from person to person. It’s important to consult your doctor if you experience any degree of pain or discomfort.
How is Chronic Bursitis Knee Diagnosed?
It can be difficult to tell whether your knee soreness or swelling is bursitis. Before beginning treatment, visit a medical professional to receive a proper diagnosis.
Your doctor may use the following methods to render a diagnosis.
- Manual examinations are used to check for warmth, swelling, and range of motion, as well as the relative condition of each knee.
- Fluid samples are taken by draining the bursa with a needle. This reduces pressure and lessens pain, and the fluid will be tested to check for infections.
Knee Bursitis Pictures
In addition to a physical exam, your doctor may use imaging techniques to diagnose your bursitis knee. ( Image Reference)
- Ultrasounds are often used to identify swelling in the bursa.
- MRIs help see soft tissues like the bursa and provide knee bursitis images.
- X-Rays deliver bursitis knee images and give medical professionals a closer look at bones and joint structure.
Bursitis Knee Treatment Methods
Bursitis knee treatment is different for each individual, depending on the severity of the injury and other medical factors. Additionally, infected knee bursitis requires different treatments. Your doctor may consider some of these common bursitis treatment methods.
Draining fluid from the bursa is known as aspiration and is performed with a needle under sterile conditions. Aspiration reduces swelling, relieves pressure, and gives medical personnel the opportunity to run additional tests.
Alternating Hot and Cold Therapy
Cold therapy is among the most common treatments for knee bursitis and can reduce swelling and improve mobility. Alternating hot and cold therapy, known as contrast therapy, can provide a whole new level of relief.
Knee Braces limit mobility and reduce swelling. The best knee brace for bursitis will relieve pain and protect against further damage.
Anti-inflammatory and pain relievers improve mobility and reduce discomfort. Corticosteroid injections reduce inflammation and are often used in extreme cases.
Treating infected bursitis of the knee begins with a definitive diagnosis, followed by antibiotic therapy and repeated aspiration of infected fluid.
Rest allows swelling to go down and prevents further complications as the body heals
Knee bursitis surgery is only used as a final measure. For persisting infectious bursitis or chronic knee bursitis, surgical intervention may be the only option. Most patients who undergo knee bursitis surgery report greatly reduced bursitis symptoms.
Bursitis Knee Recovery Time
How long does knee bursitis last? Unfortunately, recovery time varies depending on the patient and treatment plan. Surgery requires appropriate recovery time, but mild symptoms can be managed and reduced over time.
Bursitis knee makes it difficult to get through each day. But it is treatable, and a quick diagnosis is key to reducing its severity and keeping your life on track.