Did you know that you have 11 fluid-filled sacs in your knees called bursa? These sacs are present to decrease friction and add extra cushioning to the knee. When those bursa are irritated they can become inflamed which is referred to as ‘bursitis’ of the knee. The most common bursa that become inflamed are located below the kneecap and on the inner part of your knee just below the joint line. Knee bursitis can be caused by many different things.

Some of the most common causes are: prolonged kneeling, direct blow to the knee, frequent falls onto the knee, infection, or complications from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or gout of the knee. Some of the risk factors associated with bursitis of the knee are: participating in certain sports (wrestling, football and/or volleyball), gardening, jobs that require excessive kneeling (carpet layers and/or gardening), obesity, osteoarthritis, and an impaired immune system.

How do you know if you have bursitis?

Bursitis can be visibly obvious if you have a direct blow to the knee. You can have rapid filling of the bursa which will result in observable swelling at the knee. More commonly, bursitis is a result of repetitive injury to the knee and the rapid swelling is not likely. You can also have increased temperature and tenderness upon palpation of the knee.

To diagnose the bursitis your doctor may order an ultrasound, X-ray or MRI. If you have visible amounts of swelling in your knee your doctor may aspirate your bursa. Aspiration is just the process of draining the fluid using a needle.

The first steps you NEED to take to care for bursitis of the knee are RICE! Rest, ice, compression and elevation. All of these will help decrease the fluid in your knee.

Physical Therapy is a great option for recovery from more aggressive knee bursitis. Your Peak physical therapist will evaluate you on your first visit and determine the muscle imbalances that may also be contributing to your bursitis. You will receive hands-on therapy and modalities (ice, electrical stimulation and/or ultrasound) to help decrease the swelling in your knee. You will also be set up on a stretching and strengthening program specific to your needs.

If you have any questions about your knees and how to prevent or rehab the aches and pains of life, call the Institute of Physical Therapy in Lewiston for a FREE ASSESSMENT!

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