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What is Knee Bursitis?

Knee bursitis is a condition that causes inflammation of one or more of the bursae in the knee joint. Bursae are small, fluid-filled sacs that act as cushions to reduce friction between bones, tendons, and muscles. There are over 150 bursae in the body, including four in the knee.

The two most common types of knee bursitis are:

  • Prepatellar bursitis: This is inflammation of the bursa in front of the kneecap. It is also known as housemaid’s knee because it is often caused by kneeling on hard surfaces.
  • Infrapatellar bursitis: This is inflammation of the bursa below the kneecap. It is also known as clergyman’s knee because it is often caused by prolonged kneeling.

Other types of knee bursitis include:

  • Pes anserine bursitis: This is inflammation of the bursa on the inside of the knee below the joint.
  • Septic bursitis: This is a rare type of bursitis that is caused by an infection.

What are the symptoms of knee bursitis?

The most common symptoms of knee bursitis are:

  • Pain and tenderness in the affected area
  • Swelling and redness
  • Warmth to the touch
  • Limited range of motion
  • Difficulty kneeling or squatting

The symptoms of knee bursitis can vary depending on the type and severity of the condition. For example, people with prepatellar bursitis may experience pain and swelling in front of the kneecap, while people with infrapatellar bursitis may experience pain and swelling below the kneecap.

What are the causes of knee bursitis?

The most common causes of knee bursitis are:

  • Overuse: Repetitive or prolonged use of the knee can irritate the bursae and cause inflammation. This is common in athletes and people with certain jobs, such as carpet layers and roofers.
  • Injury: A direct blow to the knee can also cause bursitis.
  • Infection: Although rare, knee bursitis can also be cause by an infection. This is more likely to occur in people with weakened immune systems.

How is knee bursitis diagnose?

A doctor can usually diagnose knee bursitis based on a physical examination and a medical history. The doctor may also order an X-ray or MRI to rule out other conditions, such as a fracture or arthritis.

How is knee bursitis treated?

The treatment for knee bursitis depends on the severity of the condition and the underlying cause. In most cases, knee bursitis can be treat at home with rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE). The doctor may also prescribe over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers.

If the pain is severe or does not improve with home treatment, the doctor may inject the bursa with a corticosteroid medication to reduce inflammation. In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the bursa.

What can I do to prevent knee bursitis?

Here are some tips to help prevent knee bursitis:

  • Avoid kneeling on hard surfaces for prolonged periods of time.
  • Wear knee pads when kneeling or working on hard surfaces.
  • Strengthen the muscles around your knee to support the joint.
  • Maintain a healthy weight to reduce stress on your knees.
  • Warm up before exercise and cool down afterwards.
  • Take breaks from activities that cause pain or discomfort in your knees.

If you have any concerns about knee bursitis, please talk to your doctor.

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