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Bursae are fluid-filled sacs that cushion the bones, tendons and ligaments near joints. The knee joint is surrounded by three major bursae. When excessive amounts of fluid are produced in these sacs, the pain and inflammation of bursitis can result. This fluid build-up can happen in two different ways. The first is through repetitive motion; the second is through a traumatic event that causes rapid bursitis onset. For athletes, the results of bursitis can be very detrimental to their performance.
In some cases, knee bursitis will cause no more than joint stiffness or a minor ache. However, severe cases may result in debilitating stiffness and immobility, aching, and shooting pain during joint movement. Swelling and redness of the affected area are also common.
After hearing a description of the pain, a qualified surgeon typically diagnoses bursitis by:
Surgery is rarely needed for bursitis. The first step in treatment is to cease the repetitive motion or activity that’s causing the problem, and in some cases, to immobilize the affected joint. Icing the area and taking an anti-inflammatory medication for a few weeks are also initial treatment steps. If bursitis continues, our physicians may aspirate or inject cortisone into the area to reduce inflammation. Shoulder pain and/or a lack of mobility in the joint persist after these more conservative treatments, surgery would be considered to drain excess fluid and remove damaged tissue.