Knee Bursitis - Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment Of Knee Bursitis

Knee Bursitis

Knee bursitis is inflammation of one or more bursae (fluid-filled sac-like structures in knee joints) in the knee. Bursae reduce the friction in knee joints and cushion the pressure points around joints, bones, and tendons.

Knee bursitis commonly occurs in the knee cap or inner side of the knees and causes mild to severe pain. Delaying  treatment of knee bursitis leads to further erosion of bursae, intensifying pain symptoms and restricting knee joint mobility.




If you have the following indications, you could have bursitis.




You might need to consult a doctor if you get the following intense symptoms.


  • Restricted joint
  • Progressing joint pain 
  • Sudden inability to move a joint
  • Sharp, shooting pain while exercising
  • Pain prolonging for more than two weeks
  • A fever





Factors that increase the risk of bursitis


Certain professions or activities may increase the risk of knee bursitis.

  • Professionals requiring prolonged kneelings-such as carpenters, plumbers, and gardeners — are at increased risk of knee bursitis.
  • Sports– such as wrestling, football, and volleyball — can increase your risk of knee bursitis.
  • Obesity and osteoarthritis– can increase pressure on the knees and put constant pressure on the inner side of your knee below the joint. 




The doctor would physically examine your knees, pressurizing bursae points. If the symptoms seem serious, the doctor will also order scanning tests such as CT, MRI, and bone X-ray to examine the knee anatomy better.




The treatment depends on the extent of bursitis and complications. If the symptoms are mild, then conservative approaches are sufficient for treatment. However, severe bursitis requires a stringent treatment approach.


Conservative Approach 


  • RICE method


If there is minor swelling, the doctor recommends the RICE method, which stands for

 Rest- If you a diagnosed with bursitis, you must take ample rest and avoid pressuring your knee. However, you must walk sufficiently to maintain the mobility of the knees.

Ice– Apply ice packs on the knee joint for 20 minutes, 2-3 times a day.


Compression– Wrapping injured part with an elastic compression band to support the knee and reduce inflammation.

Elevation– Do not lie sideways on the side of the inflamed knee. Put some cushions on the underside of your knees for support and keep your knees slightly elevated above your heart.

The doctor may also ask to use knee braces during elevation to keep the knees straight.

The RICE methods help rehabilitate inflamed bursae in a few days, and you will be able to resume your daily life very soon.


  • Medications- 


The doctor recommends over-the-counter medicines, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium to counter pain and swelling of bursitis. The doctor may also prescribe antibiotics if bursitis is caused due to infection.

If the bursitis symptoms continue even after seeking medication and the RICE method, consult your doctor. You might need a stringent approach to dealing with bursitis.


  • Steroidial injection


 Steroids, also called corticosteroids, are special anti-inflammatory medications. When administered in the form of injections, they are supposed to give relief almost the same day by reducing inflammation and pain symptoms.


  • Physical Therapy


 Alongside medications, the doctor also prescribes physical therapy. Physical therapy comprises a set of excersises that intends to work specific muscles and rehabilitate associated joints, bursae, meniscus, and ligaments over there.

Physical therapy improves blood circulation and restores mobility in the knee joint. Particularly for the treatment of prepatellar bursitis, the following exercises can be very helpful.

  • Straight leg raise
  • One side hip abduction
  • Ball squats
  • Stretching excersises

All the exercises should be done in a set of five, once a day in consultation with your physiotherapist (or as guided by an orthopaedic.)




If you have severe or chronic bursitis that does not respond to other treatments, the doctor will suggest surgery. The surgery will aim to remove the thickened and swollen bursae restricting knee mobility.

In conjugation to the diagnosis of damaged knee bursae, an incision is made from the closest point to expose the inflamed knee bursae. Typically, patellar knee bursae are damaged in most cases. The surgeon access the knee bursae without bypassing the knee joint and removes the excess swollen part of the bursae. Then with dissolvable sutures, the incision in the skin is closed.


Dr Rik’s approach to bursitis treatment


In several cases, bursitis is caused to athletes and sportsmen at a very young age, causing mobility issues and hassles in daily life. If surgery is the best treatment option for them, then Dr Rik prefers to approach surgery with his newest knee preservation surgery. It is a minimally invasive surgery that preserves the natural anatomy of the knee joint without large incisions and deep cuts. It is safer, effective and applicable to a wide range of patients.

Dr Rik Kundra is a specialist knee surgeon in Dubai with a special interest in joint preservation and biological knee reconstruction. He treats various sports injuries with very professional and innovative techniques. Hence, for the treatment of knee bursitis, choose the best knee specialist Dr Rik.


All content and media on this page are created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice. Meet Dr. Rik personally for appropriate medical diagnosis and advice.

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