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Orthopedic Surgery Knee Injury Clinic

Knee bursitis is the inflammation or swelling of the bursa, which is a small fluid-filled sac that is located either between the skin and the tendon or the tendon and the bone. Bursae are bags that serve as little cushions that provide support for various body joints. When these sacs are inflamed, bursitis forms. Additionally, fluid may build up around the joint (effusion).

Knee bursitis is fairly prevalent among people between the ages of 40 and 60. However, many individuals lack the knowledge necessary to identify knee bursitis, treat it, and determine whether to seek medical attention if necessary.

Causes of Knee Bursitis

  • Excessive kneeling during activities
  • Direct blow to the knee
  • Bacterial infection
  • Complications resulting from arthritis or gout
  • Strenuous activity

Symptoms of Knee Bursitis

Common symptoms of knee bursitis include pain around the knee when touched as well as any apparent swelling around the joint. Tenderness, redness, or warmth may at times be noticed around the knee. You can also experience a fever and chills if you have septic bursitis.

Diagnosis of Knee Bursitis

Doctors make a diagnosis of knee bursitis by evaluating a patient’s medical history and conducting a physical exam. The doctor may do the following during a physical exam:

  • Examine the skin around the sore spot for redness or other indications of infection
  • Compare the condition of both knees, especially if only one is affected
  • Gently press on different parts of your knee to feel for warmth, swelling, and pain
  • Determine your knee’s range of motion and whether bending or flexing it aches by carefully moving your legs and knees

Imaging tests

  • X-rays: These are helpful in revealing a problem with a bone or arthritis
  • MRI: Involves the use of a magnetic field and radio waves to create precise images of the inside of the knee. It will visualize soft tissues like bursae.
  • Ultrasound: This test uses sound waves to produce images in real-time, therefore, helping the doctor to have a better and clear visualization of swelling in the affected bursa.

Treatment of Knee Bursitis

The majority of acute bursa cases recover quickly given enough rest and rehabilitation. It is therefore recommended that should you notice any of the symptoms of knee bursitis, to stop engaging in any physical activity that aggravates your knee and postpones returning to your regular routine until your condition has improved.

Anti-inflammatory medicines are frequently used to treat the symptoms of knee bursitis.

The doctor may sometime recommend aspiration of the bursa whereby a healthcare provider removes some of the fluid in the bursa sac for testing to rule out septic bursitis (infected). They will probably prescribe antibiotics if they determine that the fluid is septic. The doctor may advise corticosteroid injections if your knee bursitis persists or become chronic.

Prevention of Knee Bursitis

The following are some of the common approaches to preventing knee bursitis:

  • Wearing kneepads
  • Taking breaks from strenuous activity or a job that requires you to kneel often
  • Physical therapy
  • Range of motion exercises
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