Bursa are the tiny fluid filled sacs that function as gliding surfaces to reduce friction between the bones and soft tissues in your body. There are 160 total bursae in your body. Most bursae are located around your joints and can be found in elbows, hips, knees, and shoulders. When a bursa becomes irritated it is referred to as bursitis (or sometimes called “bursitis of the knee” for those with knee pain.)
Here’s an image that will show you where the bursae are located in the knee:
What Causes Bursitis Of The Knee?
Bursitis can be caused by injuries, infections, and underlying rheumatic disorders. A bursa sac can become irritated and inflamed from doing anything as simple as lifting a laundry basket to a puncture a wound. Doctors say that bursitis caused by injuries usually take some time to develop and are most commonly associated with repetitive movement. Some of the most common forms of bursitis include:
- Clergyman’s Knee
- Ice Skater’s Ankle
- Tennis Elbow
Bursitis can also develop in the shoulders through repetitive overhead lifting; the hips through running and over-training, and the buttocks from sitting on hard surfaces for long periods of time.
People with diabetes, cancer, who are taking steroids, or are high consumers of alcohol, are at a higher risk for developing bursitis through infection (like a cut) than healthier people. And individuals with certain health conditions like gout and rheumatoid arthritis are more prone to crystals developing in their bursa sacs, resulting in bursitis.
What Are The Symptom of Bursitis Of The Knee?
Someone with bursitis may exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:
- Loss of joint movement
- Pain that gets worse with pressure or movement
- Tenderness with and without movement
If the bursitis is the result of an infection it is known as septic bursitis and may be accompanied by these additional symptoms:
- The affected area is red in color
- The affected area is hot to touch
How Do You Treat Bursitis?
If you think you are experiencing symptoms of bursitis and are diabetic or have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis go ahead and set up an appointment with your doctor. Bursitis is fairly easy to diagnose after the doctor has examined you and possibly taken a fluid sample from the area you’re complaining about. If a fluid sample is taken, it will be to confirm that there is no bacteria or crystals in your bursa sac. However, most cases of bursitis can be treated safely at home:
- Rest and relaxation – It goes without saying, if you are in a lot of pain, it’s time to rest your joints.
- Cold therapy – Ice the area at least twice a day to help reduce swelling.
- Invest in a knee brace – A popular choice for bursitis is Amazon’s McDavid 4 Way Elastic Knee Sleeve with Gel Buttress and Stays.
- Drain the bursae sac – In some cases, it may be necessary to drain the bursae sac to get some relief. Consult your doctor before attempting this and I highly recommended that you do not do it yourself.
- Stretching – As you can see in the following video, certain stretches and exercises can help with bursitis:
Knee Bursitis Stretches & Exercises – Ask Doctor Jo
Preventing Bursitis Of The Knee
You can take steps to prevent developing bursitis of the knee by doing things like warming up before exercising and strengthening the muscles around your joints and areas you’ve had bursitis before. If you know you will be performing a repetitive task for a long period of time make sure you schedule plenty of breaks. Most importantly though, always take extra care to do what you can to protect your joints.
Disclaimer – I am not a doctor and I am not qualified to provide medical advice. This article was posted for informational purposes only and should not be interpreted as medical advice.
Until next time!