Knee Bursitis: 5 Common Symptoms & Treatment

Medically Reviewed By | Johannah Gregg, DNP FNP-C

A lot can go wrong with the knees. Out of all the joints in the human body, they rank among the highest in sustained pressure and strain. 

Many people are well aware of the knee joint's network of tendons and ligaments and their vulnerability to tears and sprains. But the knees are also commonly affected by a bothersome condition called bursitis, which does not involve muscles, tendons, or ligaments.

In this article, we are taking a close look at the condition — the main signs to look out for and how you can treat it. We’ll also explore how Incrediwear can fit into the fight against bursitis of the knee.

What Is Bursitis?

Bursae (plural for the singular “bursa”) are small, fluid-filled sacs located all around the body — an adult has approximately 150 of them. Knee bursa act as natural cushions at the front of the knee, blocking the bones from unwanted rubbing up against skin, muscles, and tendons. Without them, there would be friction, leading to inflammation where certain tissues meet.

When one of these thin sacs becomes aggravated, damaged, or even infected, it thickens up with excess fluid to compensate for the problem. As a result, the area of the body swells and can cause other symptoms — this is what “bursitis” is.

Types of Knee Bursitis

This condition is most likely to affect the bursae around joints, making the knee a particularly vulnerable area.

The are mainly two different types of bursitis that manifest in the knee:

Kneecap Bursitis

Also called prepatellar bursitis, kneecap bursitis affects the bursa between your kneecap bone (patella) and the skin that covers it. 

Inner Knee Bursitis

It’s less common, but there’s a bursa on the inside of the knee that can become irritated. It sits in between the shin bone and the hamstring muscle.

Common Causes of Knee Bursitis

There are three main events/situations that can be risk factors for bursitis to occur in the knee:

  • Excess pressure on the bone and surrounding soft tissue
  • Impact trauma or a blow to the knee
  • Bacterial infection in the knee, sometimes called septic bursitis or an infected bursa

What Conditions or Activities Increase Your Risk for Knee Bursitis?

Here are the factors that can leave you prone to developing an inflamed bursa in your knee:

  • Frequent kneeling on hard surfaces — knee bursitis is sometimes called “housemaid’s knee” because it often affects housekeepers. Those who put a lot of pressure on their kneecap, whether for their occupation (roofers, carpet layers, etc.) or any other reason, commonly develop prepatellar bursitis. 
  • Overuse through participating in contact sports — high-impact blows to the knee are not uncommon in sports such as football, hockey, rugby, and wrestling, among others.
  • Not stretching before activity — the bursa on the inside of the knee can become irritated if you do not adequately stretch or warm up before activity.
  • A medical history that includes osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or gout — these conditions predispose you to develop bursitis in your kneecap.
  • Immunosuppressive conditions — diseases like diabetes can weaken your immune system and, in turn, put you at a higher risk for developing infections. Again, it’s less common, but infections can irritate a bursa in the knee.

Five Symptoms of Knee Bursitis

Below are the five most common signs that indicate bursitis in the knee:

1. Swelling

If you’re dealing with prepatellar bursitis, you’ll almost certainly see the swollen bursa sac through the skin. The area is usually “squishy” to the touch and can grow over time if not properly treated.

2. Limited Range of Motion

With more severe cases of bursitis in the knee, your range of motion may be affected or limited.

3. Knee Pain 

While some instances of knee bursitis don’t come with any pain, it is definitely possible to feel an achiness or tenderness in the area — this can occur while moving and even when resting.

4. Warmth

This is more likely to happen when bursitis occurs due to an infection, but the skin covering the affected area can feel warm to the touch.

5. Redness and Inflammation of the Bursa

Again, this symptom is more likely to accompany an infection, but the affected area can also look more pinkish/reddish than usual.

If you suspect that bursitis in your knee is the result of an infection, you must contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

Knee Bursitis Treatment Options

Here are the basic modes of treatment for bursitis in the knee, including home remedies and more conventional treatments. 

Resting/Avoiding Certain Activities

Simply resting the knee is crucial to recovery. If you must move, avoid the action/activity that caused bursitis to occur in the first place (if known).

Icing the Area

Applying an ice pack to the knee at short but regular intervals will combat the swelling of the bursa, potentially reducing any pain.

Elevating the Leg

Getting the knee above the heart while resting can further promote swelling to subside.


Taking over-the-counter NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like naproxen, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen can relieve pain and swelling.

Corticosteroid Injection

For more severe cases that do not subside with rest, your healthcare provider may administer a special shot to the knee that will reduce the inflammation.

Compression Wrap/Sleeve

Johannah Gregg, DNP, FNP-C, recommends this specifically! 

“By applying compression, you are able to prevent the bursa from expanding by completing the feedback loop in the body that notifies the body that excess fluid is not needed in that joint.” 

Knee Bursitis Prevention

There are a few things you can do to prevent developing bursitis in the knee:

  • If your job requires you to do a lot of kneeling, wear knee pads.
  • If you play a contact sport, wear proper knee protection.
  • If you cut the skin near your knee or get an insect bite, clean the wound to prevent infections from spreading.
  • If you do a particularly hard workout on the knees, make sure to do a proper cool down and ice/elevate your knees afterward.

Incrediwear for Knee Bursitis

In addition to all the treatment and prevention methods listed above, incorporating Incrediwear into your work, workout, or athletic routine can be an extremely effective way to avoid and combat any type of bursitis in the knee. Here’s how:

How Does Incrediwear Work?

All Incrediwear products are constructed with a special type of germanium-infused fabric. The healing power of this fabric is activated when it comes in contact with the heat from your body’s skin, releasing negatively charged ions into the targeted area of the body.

These ions vibrate the cells within the tissues of your body, and the effect is increased blood flow and speed to the area. These two factors are crucial for athletes because blood provides oxygen and other nutrients to the cells, supporting the body’s natural healing process. The ions also help increase lymphatic drainage in the area, soothing discomfort.

How Is Incrediwear Different from Compression?

Compression knee sleeves and braces may temporarily cover up the pain, but it ultimately works against your body by restricting blood supply to the knee. Incrediwear is the opposite — it supports the knee by supporting your biological processes.

Especially for a condition like prepatellar bursitis, a compression garment squeezing against the swollen bursa on the front of your knee can be quite uncomfortable.

What Incrediwear Products Can Help With Knee Bursitis?

These are the Incrediwear garments we recommend if you are dealing with knee bursitis:

Incrediwear Knee Sleeve

Our best-selling knee sleeve hugs your leg from just above the knee down to the middle of the shin. It’s low-profile makes it fit comfortably underneath pants, and its flexibility doesn’t interfere with your mobility.

The multiple sizes we offer will help you to customize the fit better, and it comes in six different colors to match any wardrobe.

Incrediwear Performance Pants

Our men’s and women’s performance pants will also give you coverage on all sides of the knee. They’re form-fitting but also super breathable at the same time. Pick up a pair of these in the size of your choice if you’re dealing with knee bursitis or any other issues affecting the legs — knee sprains, calf pain, hip pain, quad pain, strained hamstrings etc.


Rheumatoid Arthritis: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments and More | Arthritis Foundation

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) | Cleveland Clinic

Cortisone shots | Mayo Clinic

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