Managing and Healing Knee Bursitis: An Inflammation of the Joint

A doctor may diagnose a person dealing with chronic pain as suffering from bursitis. This condition is an inflammation of the bursa, which are small sacs of fluid around joints. Wearing specific types of knee sleeves and braces are helpful for patients with bursitis. In addition, someone who must kneel regularly during work should use a cushioned pad to prevent extra stress on the knees. Carpenters and plumbers are just two examples.


Pain over the kneecap or on the inner side of the joint are the typical symptoms of knee bursitis. The knee may be a bit swollen and may even feel warm to the touch. The pain may be worse when moving the leg, but it also can be bothersome when just resting. The aching knee can disrupt sleep, causing the person to shift around trying to find a comfortable position.


This condition sometimes happens with an acute injury, but it usually is associated with repetitive movements or pressure being put on the knee regularly. The condition was traditionally called housemaid’s knee, since women in charge of cleaning large homes would spend a large amount of time on their knees scrubbing floors. It also may occur in people doing a lot of biking or doing athletic activities that require routine pivoting. Runners who travel long distances also are susceptible.


In these cases, treating knee pain usually focuses on conservative strategies. A physical therapist may recommend specific gentle exercises, since trying to hold the knee immobile all the time can leave it stiffer. A customized program of stretches and other exercises is intended to strengthen the muscles around the knee and make the entire area more flexible.

Massaging the knee can reduce inflammation and increase circulation. Resting with an ice pack on the joint several times a day can help reduce inflammation. Wearing support devices keep the knee in the proper position to prevent excess strain. Sleeping with a pillow between the knees eases the pain that develops when both knees rest against each other.


In the future, wearing knee support that is recommended by the doctor or physical therapist can prevent bursitis from developing again. The support might only need to be worn during athletic activity or strenuous activity around the yard or home. The devices also may be recommended for men and women who are on their feet a lot at work, or who must squat or kneel routinely.


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