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Knee Bursitis


Disease: Knee Bursitis Knee Bursitis
Category: Bones, joints, muscles diseases
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Disease Definition:

Located near the knee joint is the bursa, which is a small fluid-filled, pad-like sac that reduces friction and cushions pressure points between the bones and the tendons and muscles near the joints. Knee bursitis is the inflammation of the bursa.


Each knee has 11 bursae. Knee bursitis most commonly occurs over the kneecap or on the inner side of the knee below the joint, despite the fact that any of the bursae could become inflamed.


Knee bursitis can limit mobility and cause pain. In order to relieve pain and inflammation, treatment of this situation involves a combination of self-care measures in addition to doctor–administered treatments.


Work Group:

Prepared by: Scientific Section

Symptoms, Causes


Based on which bursa is affected and what precisely is causing the inflammation, the signs and symptoms of knee bursitis could vary.
Generally, the affected portion of the knee may:


  • Feel warm to the touch
  • Appear swollen or feel sponge-like when touching the area
  • Be painful or tender when moved or put pressure on the knee


Symptoms could appear rapidly due to a sharp blow to the knee. However, repetitive injuries to the knee such as those sustained in jobs that require a lot of kneeling, is the cause of most cases of knee bursitis. In this case, the symptoms will appear gradually and worsen over time.


A person should see a doctor if he/she has a fever as well as pain and swelling in the knee because this could be a sign of the infection of the bursa that lies over the kneecap.


The causes of knee bursitis may include:


  • A direct blow to the knee
  • Frequent falls on the knee
  • Frequent and sustained pressure, such as from kneeling
  • Bacterial infection of the bursa
  • Complications from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or gout in the knee







You will be prescribed a course of antibiotics in case the cause of knee bursitis was infection.

Corticosteroid injection:

In order to reduce inflammation, a corticosteroid drug could be injected directly into an affected bursa. Although the person may experience pain and swelling from the injection for a couple of days, however, in most cases the inflammation subsides rapidly.




To reduce excess fluid and treat inflammation, a bursa could be aspirated. A needle will be inserted directly into the affected bursa and fluid will be drawn into the syringe. This type of treatment may cause short-term pain and swelling, just like a corticosteroid injection.

Physical therapy:

To improve flexibility and strengthen muscles, a person may be referred to a physical therapist or specialist in sports medicine, who would help them learn appropriate exercises. The pain may be alleviated with this therapy, and the person’s risk of recurring episodes of knee bursitis reduced.



A person may be recommended that the bursa be removed surgically in case he/she has severe chronic bursitis and doesn’t respond to other treatments.


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