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Knee bursitis is inflammation of a small fluid-filled bag (bursa) near the knee joint. Bursae reduce friction and pad pressure points between your bones and the tendons, muscles, and skin near your joints.
Any bursa in your knee can become infected. Most often, however, bursitis occurs on the kneecap or on the inside of your knee below the joint.
The signs and symptoms of knee bursitis vary depending on the bursa affected and the cause of the inflammation.
Usually, the affected part of your knee can be hot, tender, and swollen when you put pressure on it. You might also feel pain when moving or even at rest.
A sharp blow to the knee can cause symptoms to come on quickly.
Knee bursitis can be caused by:
- Frequent and sustained pressure, for example on the knees, especially on hard surfaces
- Overuse or vigorous activity
- A direct blow to the knee
- Bacterial infection of the bursa
Knee bursitis is a common complaint, but your risk of developing this painful disorder can increase if:
- Kneel long. People who work on their knees for long periods of time – carpets, plumbers, and gardeners – are at increased risk of knee bursitis.
- Participation in certain sports. Sports that result in direct hits or frequent knee falls, such as wrestling, soccer, and volleyball, can increase the risk of knee bursitis. Runners can develop pain and inflammation in the pesanserin bursa, which is on the inside of your knee, below the joint.
To prevent knee bursitis or prevent it from happening again:
- Wear knee pads. If you work on your knees or play sports that put your knees at risk, use pads to cushion and protect your knees.
- Take breaks. After you’ve been on your knees for a while, take regular breaks to straighten your legs and rest your knees.
- Avoid excessive squats. Excessive or repeated bending of the knees increases the force on the knee joints.