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Knee Bursitis

Knee Bursitis

What is Knee Bursitis?

Knee bursitis is inflammation of a small fluid-filled sac (bursa) situated near your knee joint. Bursae reduce friction and cushion pressure points between your bones and the tendons, muscles and skin near your joints.

Any of the bursa in your knee can become inflamed, but knee bursitis most commonly occurs over the kneecap or on the inner side of your knee below the joint.

Knee bursitis causes pain and can limit your mobility. Treatment for knee bursitis often includes a combination of self-care practices and doctor-administered treatments to alleviate pain and inflammation.

How Does it Feel?

With knee bursitis, you may experience:

  • Swelling on the front of the knee
  • Redness on the front of the knee
  • Pain when you push with your fingers on the front of the knee
  • Pain when kneeling
  • Stiffness in the knee joint, or difficulty straightening or bending the knee

How can Physical Therapy help Knee Bursitis?

Reduce Pain and Swelling. If repetitive activities have caused the knee bursitis, your physical therapist will help you understand how to avoid or modify the activities to allow healing to begin. Your physical therapist may use different types of treatments and electrothermal modalities (machines that use heat, light, or sound to reduce swelling and pain) to control and reduce your pain and swelling.

Improve Motion. Your physical therapist will choose specific activities and treatments to help restore normal movement in the knee and leg. These might begin with “passive” motions that the therapist performs for you to gently move your knee joint, and progress to active exercises and stretches that you do yourself.

Improve Flexibility. Your physical therapist will determine if any of your leg muscles are tight, start helping you to stretch them, and teaching you how to stretch them on your own.

Improve Strength. If your physical therapist finds any weak or injured leg muscles, your therapist will choose and teach you the correct exercises and equipment to steadily restore your strength and agility.

Improve Endurance. Restoring your leg’s muscular endurance is important after an injury. Your physical therapist will develop a program of activities to help you regain the endurance that you had before the injury, so you can return to doing the things you like to do.

Improve Balance. Regaining your sense of balance is important after an injury. Your physical therapist will teach you exercises to improve your balance skills.

Restore Agility. Speed and accuracy of leg movement is important in athletics. Your physical therapist will help you regain these skills in preparation for a return to sports activities.

Learn a Home Program. Your physical therapist will teach you strengthening and stretching exercises to perform at home. These exercises will be specific for your needs; if you do them as prescribed by your physical therapist, you can speed your recovery.

Return to Activities. Your physical therapist will discuss your activity goals with you and use them to set your work, sport, and home-life recovery goals. Your treatment program will help you reach your goals in the safest, fastest, and most effective way possible. Your physical therapist will teach you exercises, work retraining activities, and sport-specific techniques and drills to help you achieve your goals.

Speed Recovery Time. Your physical therapist is trained and experienced in choosing the best treatments and exercises to help you safely heal, return to your normal lifestyle, and reach your goals faster than you are likely to do on your own.