ABC Medical Center > Knee bursitis

What is Knee bursitis?

21:53 - 4 May , 2021


It is the inflammatory process of one of the bursae or synovial fluid sacs that are close to the knee joint and that lubricate it, reduce friction with the bones, and act as a shock absorber in movement. When bursitis occurs, knee movement is restricted, causing pain, stiffness, and difficulty walking.

Five bursae surround the knee:

  • Prepatellar: it is located in front of the patella.
  • Superficial infrapatellar: in front of the patellar tendon.
  • Deep infrapatellar: behind the patellar tendon.
  • Goose foot: inside the knee.
  • Semimembranosus: above the goose foot.

Although any bursa is susceptible to inflammation, the prepatellar is the one that does so most frequently.

The conventional treatment is to establish personal care activities, physiotherapy, and medications to control symptoms. The origin of knee bursitis is due, among other causes, to:

  • Infectious processes.
  • Diabetes.
  • Arthritis.
  • Gout.
  • Osteoarthritis.
  • Constant repetitive movements.
  • Friction or excessive activity overload.
  • Knee injuries.
  • Overweight and obesity.

Signs and symptoms Knee bursitis

The characteristic symptoms usually depend on the inflamed bursa and the origin of the inflammatory process, but the most common symptoms are:

  • Heat in the knee.
  • Hypersensitivity in the affected area.
  • Pain on movement and at rest.
  • Difficulty walking.
  • Partial or total limitation of joint movement.

Diagnosis and treatment Knee bursitis

Once your orthopedist analyzes your symptoms and medical history, they will perform a physical examination in which they can compare the size of both knees, touch different points to notice sensitive areas, look for signs of infection and measure the range of motion of the joint.

To corroborate the diagnosis and rule out other conditions, they will take an X-ray, ultrasound, and MRI of the knee.

If there is evidence of infection, a sample of the fluid contained in the bursa will be aspirated for its analysis. Bursitis often improves if you rest, avoid movements and overuse for a while, and take painkillers, anti-inflammatories, and antibiotics (only if there is an infection).

Additionally, they may recommend the use of compression bandages or orthopedic supports to speed healing. If deemed necessary, the orthopedist may combine pharmacological treatment with physical therapy sessions to help you restore movement and acquire greater muscle strength.

When conservative treatments fail, options include the use of corticosteroids injected directly into the bursa, removal of the fluid through an aspiration needle, or, in extreme cases, surgical removal of the bursa.

At the Orthopedics and Traumatology Center, we seek to improve the lives of patients restricted or immobilized by musculoskeletal disorders or injuries. We specialize in the care of the locomotor system by integrating the latest medical, biological, and technological advances, in strict adherence to the highest international standards of patient care.


  • Carrillo-Esper R, Zepeda-Mendoza AD, Pérez-Calatayud A, et al. Bursitis anserina. Med Sur. 2014;21(2):77-80.
  • Gutiérrez GJ, Fernández FM, Sandoval HS. Tendinitis y bursitis de la pata de ganso. Ortho-tips. 2014;10(3):163-178.
  • Lara-de la Fuente R. Infiltraciones con esteroides en ortopedia. Acta Ortop Mex. 2011 Ene-Feb;25(1):12-16.

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