Star Physical Therapy

Bursitis of the Knee

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Bursitis is inflammation of a bursa. A bursa is a thin sac that lies between bone and soft tissue near certain joints. A healthy bursa allows smooth movement of soft tissue over bone. Inflammation can make it painful to move the nearby joint.

Bursitis-Knee-300x300

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Bursitis may be caused by:

  • A blow to an area containing a bursa
  • Repetitive stress on the bursa
  • Infection in bursa
  • Long periods of pressure on joint—leaning on elbows, sitting or kneeling on hard surfaces
  • Medical conditions that cause inflammation in joints such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout

If the stress is not relieved, bursitis can become a long-term condition.

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Factors that increase your chance for bursitis include:

  • Repetitive motion activities when done to an extreme, such as swimming, running, or tennis
  • A job that requires:
    • Repetitive motions such as hammering or painting
    • Long hours in one position such as a carpenter kneeling
  • Contact sports
  • Sporting gear that is too tight
  • A puncture or deep cut that involves bursa

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Symptoms of bursitis include:

  • Pain in the area
  • Swelling
  • Reddened skin
  • Warmth around the area of the bursa
  • Decreased motion of the nearby joint
  • Decreased function of the nearby limb

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You will be asked about your symptoms and your physical activities. The painful area will be examined. Images may be taken of your bony structures. This can be done with x-rays.

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Bursitis treatment will focus on decreasing inflammation and pain. Your physical therapy treatment may include:

  • Being shown how to do your activities at home and at work to protect you from making your bursitis worse
  • Exercises to strengthen your knee
  • Heat, ice, and pressure treatments to reduce the swelling and pain

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The following steps may help to prevent bursitis:

  • Do not overdo sports and other activities.
  • When doing a new activity, gradually increase the intensity and duration of activity.
  • Make sure you perform activities correctly.
  • Wear properly fitting, protective pads if you play contact sports.
  • Use proper safety equipment at work.
  • Work with an ergonomic specialist to improve work-related activities.

This content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library

This content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library
RESOURCES:
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

http://orthoinfo.aaos.org

  • American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine

http://www.sportsmed.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:
  • Canadian Orthopaedic Association

http://www.coa-aco.org

  • Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation

http://www.canorth.org

REFERENCES:
  • Bursitis. Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center website. Available at:  http://medicalcenter.osu.edu/patientcare/healthcare_services/spine_shoulder_pelvic_disorders/common_disorders_spine_sholder_pelvis/bursitis/Pages/index.aspx Accessed December 15, 2013.
  • Elbow (olecranon) bursitis. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at:  http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00028 Updated January 2011. Accessed December 15, 2013.
  • Hip bursitis. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at:  http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00409 Updated August 2007. Accessed December 15, 2013.
  • Prepatellar bursitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated September 5, 2012. Accessed December 15, 2013.
  • Questions and answers about bursitis and tendonitis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at:  http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bursitis/ Updated June 2013. Accessed December 15, 2013.
  • Tendonitis/bursitis. American College of Rheumatology. Available at:  http://www.rheumatology.org/Practice/Clinical/Patients/Diseases_And_Conditions/Tendinitis_and_Bursitis/ Updated February 2013. Accessed December 15, 2013.

This content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library