Knee bursitis is inflammation of a bursa, a small, fluid-filled sac located near your knee joint. When the bursa becomes inflamed, it can cause pain or reduced mobility in the knee. Knee bursitis can be caused by frequent pressure, such as from kneeling, a direct blow to the knee or a bacterial infection. Treatment includes a combination of medication and exercises to help reduce pain and inflammation.
A physical therapist can provide an exercise program tailored specifically to your needs. This program can help you to regain motion, strength and function in the affected knee. If the pain is so severe it is affecting your ability to carry out daily life activities, an occupational therapist can suggest modifications for activities that have become difficult and suggest ways to prevent re-injury.
Your doctor or physical therapist may prescribe hamstring stretches as part of your exercise routine. Lie on your back with your buttocks close to a doorway, and reach your legs out in front of you. Raise the affected leg and rest it on the wall next to the door frame. Hold this position as you feel a stretch in the back of your thigh. Another exercise is a hip stretch. Lie on your back, bend your knees and put your feet flat on the floor. Spread your knees apart slowly, stretching your inside thigh muscles. The calf stretch is also a possibility. Place your hands against a wall at eye level and put your injured leg about 12 inches behind your good leg. Keep the affected leg straight and your heel on the floor. Lunge slightly forward, leaning into the wall until you feel a stretch in the calf muscle.
Healing bursitis may take time and patience. According to Life123, you can expect it to initially take two to three weeks to start feeling better. Complete healing can take anywhere from six weeks to a year, depending on the severity of the injury. It is not until you have completely healed that you should begin exercises to try to prevent recurrence.
It is possible to prevent bursitis. Learn to identify the activities that cause the flare-ups, such as excessive kneeling, and avoid them. If it is not possible to avoid kneeling, cushion your knees by placing a pillow underneath. Take breaks in between activities to give your knees a chance to rest. Be sure to stretch and strengthen the area around the knee before you experience pain to improve the flexibility and strength around the area. Avoid sitting for long periods of time -- get up and walk around every 20 to 30 minutes, and turn your entire body around instead of twisting at the waist.
Do not attempt to treat knee bursitis on your own. If you think you have bursitis, see your doctor for an evaluation. In addition to physical therapy, he may also provide medication and advise you not to put any pressure on the knee until you are pain-free.
- MayoClinic.com: Knee Bursitis
- University Sports Medicine: Prepatellar (Knee) Bursitis -- Rehabilitation Exercises
- The Stretching Institute: Bursitis and Bursitis Treatment
- Life123: Bursitis Treatment Options
- UW Medicine: Orthopedics and Sports Medicine: Bursitis, Tendinitis, and Other Soft Tissue Rheumatic Syndromes