Your body has sacks of fluid located in strategic places to allow your tendons to glide effortlessly over your bones. If you did not have a bursa, your joints would be painful with every movement. However, sometimes this sack of fluid becomes inflamed from an injury (such as a direct blow to the knee), overuse (such as kneeling to scrub floors), or infection. When the bursa becomes inflamed, doctors add the ending “itis,” meaning inflammation. Thus, your bursa becomes bursitis. Usually, bursitis produces a very specifically located swelling on your knee.
Types of Bursitis
- Pes Anserine Bursitis is swelling located on the inside (medial) part of your knee along the upper part of your tibia. The pain of bursitis is usually sharp and worse with either touching the area or even when you sleep, and the two knees touch each other. This typically happens in older patients.
- Patellar bursitis (or “pre-patellar bursitis”) is located over the front of the patellar ligament and kneecap (patella) – see the picture to the right. The pain is located right in the front of your knee, and it can even be painful to have the bedsheets touch your skin in this area. This is the most common type of bursitis.
- An infection to the bursa usually has redness associated with this swelling, and the pain is constant. Please seek medical treatment immediately if you think you may have an infection.