Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Depending on which parts of your knee are affected, your doctor may recommend one or more treatment approaches.


If an infection has caused the knee bursitis, your doctor will prescribe a course of antibiotic treatment.


Your doctor may refer you to a physical therapist or specialist in sports medicine, who can help you learn appropriate exercises to improve flexibility and strengthen muscles. This therapy may alleviate pain and reduce your risk of recurring episodes of knee bursitis.

Surgical and other procedures

More invasive treatments for knee bursitis treatment may include:

  • Corticosteroid injection. If the bursitis is persistent and not responding to basic treatments, your doctor may consider injecting a corticosteroid drug directly into an affected bursa to reduce inflammation. The inflammation usually subsides rapidly, but you may experience pain and swelling from the injection for a couple of days.
  • Aspiration. Your doctor may aspirate a bursa to reduce excess fluid and treat inflammation. He or she will insert a needle directly into the affected bursa and draw fluid into the syringe. As with a corticosteroid injection, aspiration may cause short-term pain and swelling, and you may need to wear a knee immobilizer for a short period after the injection to reduce the chance of recurrent swelling.
  • Surgery. If you have severe chronic bursitis and don't respond to other treatments, your doctor may recommend that the bursa be removed surgically.
April 24, 2014