Bursitis often improves over time, so treatment is usually aimed at symptom relief. However, depending on the cause of your knee bursitis and which bursa is infected, your doctor might 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 might refer you to a physical therapist or specialist in sports medicine, who can help you improve flexibility and strengthen muscles. This therapy might alleviate pain and reduce your risk of recurring episodes of knee bursitis. Protective knee braces might help if you can't avoid kneeling, and compressive knee sleeves can help reduce swelling.
Surgical and other procedures
More-invasive treatments for knee bursitis treatment include:
- Corticosteroid injection. If the bursitis is persistent and not responding to basic treatments, your doctor might inject a corticosteroid drug into an affected bursa to reduce inflammation. The inflammation usually subsides rapidly, but you might have pain and swelling from the injection for a couple of days.
- Aspiration. Your doctor might aspirate a bursa to reduce excess fluid and treat inflammation. He or she will insert a needle into the affected bursa and draw fluid into the syringe. Aspiration might cause short-term pain and swelling, and you might 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 or recurrent bursitis and don't respond to other treatments, your doctor might recommend surgery to remove the bursa.
April 22, 2017
- Canoso JJ. Knee bursitis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 19, 2016.
- Bursitis. Arthritis Foundation. http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/bursitis/. Accessed Dec. 19, 2016.
- Bursitis and tendinitis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. https://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/bursitis/. Accessed Dec. 19, 2016.
- Todd DJ. Bursitis: An overview of clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and management. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 19, 2016.
- Prepatellar (kneecap) bursitis. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00338. Accessed Dec. 19, 2016.
- Pes anserine (knee tendon) bursitis. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00335. Accessed Dec. 19, 2016.