Like tendonitis, bursitis involves inflammation, but in a different part of the knee. Bursitis occurs in the bursae, which are fluid-filled cushions that minimize friction between bones, tendons and muscles. In each knee, there are 11 bursae that can become inflamed. Unlike tendonitis, bursitis most commonly occurs above the patella or below the knee joint.
Bursitis of the knee is typically found in athletes such as runners where overuse is common and can occur as a result of improper stretching or failure to stretch, tight hamstring muscles, obesity, or as a complication of osteoarthritis or a medial meniscus tear. In some cases, bursitis can be the result of a bacterial infection. The pain associated with bursitis is usually found inside the knee or in the center of the shinbone.
Genesis Orthopedics & Sports Medicine can use aspiration and cortisone injections for reducing pain and inflammation in the bursa. An injection with corticosteroids directly into the inflamed bursa reduces inflammation, often permanently or for long periods of time.
In most circumstances, bursitis of the knee is treated with cortisone and other medications and is then supplemented with physical therapy. Physical therapy is prescribed to strengthen the tendons and muscles around the knee, and ultimately reduce pain.