What Is Knee Bursitis?
Knee bursitis (know medically as prepatellar bursitis) is a condition that’s characterized by inflammation of the fluid-filled sac in front of the knee, known as the bursa. The bursa is responsible for creating a smooth gliding surface while acting as natural cushions to absorb pressure and tension. When this sac begins to fill with an excess amount of fluid, however, it may lead to knee bursistis.
The primary symptom of knee bursitis is swelling of the kneecap and area surrounding the knee. Pain is typically mild-to-nonexistent, but the inflammation can cause discomfort and limited mobility. Depending on the severity of the condition, the affected area may feel warm to the touch, or it may develop cellulitis due to infection.
Because the symptoms of knee bursitis are similar to stress fractures and arthritis, an X-ray is needed to properly diagnose the condition. If the patient is experiencing a fever and/or severe redness in the affected area, the medical practitioner may draw a small amount of blood from the bursa to test it for infection. Allowing infections to remain unchecked in the bursa is incredibly dangerous, as it can spread throughout the entire body.
Knee bursitis is often caused by overuse of the hamstring muscle, making it a relatively common condition among runners and athletes. Constantly pushing your body to its physical limits may result in minor trauma to the bursa. As this trauma persists, fluid will gradually build up until the knee is noticeably larger from the excess swelling. Runners should pay extra attention to their knees, monitoring them for signs of inflammation on a regular basis.
Direct acute trauma to the knee may also cause this condition. For example, someone may develop knee bursitis after being in an automobile accident that resulted in blunt force trauma to the knee. The blow of the impact can lead to moderate amounts of swelling in the bursa. Other possible causes of knee bursitis include gout, sarcoidosis, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Protecting the knee from further swelling will often ease the symptoms associated with knee bursitis. If you are currently suffering from this condition, use caution to ensure your knee is protected against trauma. Even minor amounts of trauma, such as running, jogging or playing sports, may trigger the release of additional fluid; therefore, making the knee swell even larger. Resting with an ice pack on the affected knee will ease the swelling and discomfort caused by the condition. Some medical practitioners may also recommend wearing a knee brace for additional support.
Of course, taking a non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as aspirin or ibuprofen, may help to ease some of the swelling associated with knee bursitis. There’s even a technique in which a physician can push NSAIDs through the skin to reach the inflamed area. Known as iontophoresis, it’s a highly effective way to supply the affected area with NSAIDs.
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