Knee bursitis is a condition in which there is inflammation of the bursa present in front of the knee joint. Bursa is an anatomical structure present in many joints of the human body. Its function is to provide cushion between the tendons, muscles and the bones involved in the joint. It helps in reducing the friction between these structures and avoid the wear and tear. Because of bursae, thereis free movement of the bones and the muscles against each other.
Every knee has 11 bursae in total. Any of these bursae can become inflamed. Most commonly affected bursa is the pre patellar bursa which lies in front of the knee joint. It is also common in the bursa present on the inner side of the knee joint.
Causes of knee Bursitis:
The bursa gets affected mostly due to wear and tear of the knee joint. Following are some of the causes of knee bursitis:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Pseudo gout
- Gouty arthritis
- Bacterial infection
- Profession involving frequent kneeling e.g. housemaid
- It can also be seen in people with chronic illness such as diabetes,alcoholics, COPD etc.
Knee bursitis symptoms:
A person might be suffering from knee bursitis if has following symptoms:
- Swelling: there is swelling around the knee joint
- Warmth: the surrounding area is warm to touch
- Pain: there is pain on touching the area
- Redness: the area becomes red due to increased blood flow to the area
- Fever: there might be also fever
- Difficulty in walking: the patient may complain of difficulty in walking
- decreased movement: there is decrease in the range of motion of the legs. the person is not able to either fold or stretch the leg as fully as before.
- Crepitus: there might be a crackling sound made at the time of movements
The clinical examination and relevant history is very important for the diagnosis of bursitis. the orthopaedic doctor will examine the knee joint and perform such movement tests which will give clues regarding the probable diagnosis. the fluid in the bursa is aspirated and tested under microscope with help of various staining methods. X rays, MRI and CT scan also provide useful information about the affected knee.
Treatment of knee bursitis:
Following treatment modalities are used to treat knee bursitis:
- Ice application: ice pads can be kept on the affected area to decrease the swelling
- Rest: affected knee joint should be rested as much as possible. Decreased motion of the leg will help the knee to recover faster.
- Fine needle aspiration: sometimes the excess fluid is removed from the bursa with the help of a needle which is inserted in the bursa under local anaesthesia.
- Corticosteroid injection: to reduce the inflammation, steroids are injected in the joint or the bursa.
- pain medications: medications are given to control the pain and the swelling present around the joint.
- Physiotherapy: it is very necessary to see a physiotherapist for any joint problems. Physiotherapy helps in controlling the pain and rewiring of the muscles in doing the right movements with minimum strain on the affected part.
- Exercise: the physiotherapist will advise some specific exercises for the knee joint. Doing those exercises in the dictated manner is necessary for fast recovery.
Bursitis can be prevented from worsening. Following are some preventive methods:
- Avoid frequent kneeling and trauma to the knee
- Wear protective knee pads for those who play contact sports and have profession involving frequent kneeling.
Knee bursitis is easier to treat and shows better improvement if detected earlier.