It depends on what’s causing your problems. Your knees each have a bursa sac that’s filled with fluid. Sometimes they get inflamed or infected.
Inflamed Bursa Treatment
Try these simple steps first:
Rest: Take it easy for a few days. Don’t do anything that seems to make your symptoms worse. You can still do low-impact or gentle exercises like a light walk or stationary bike ride.
Ice: Put an ice pack on your knee about 3 to 4 times a day. You can also use a bag of frozen veggies like peas or corn. Leave it on for 20 minutes at a time.
Medicate: Take a mild, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium.
Elevate: Prop up the sore knee while you rest on the couch. This may ease the swelling.
If You Need Stronger Treatment
Your doctor might try:
Aspiration: They use a needle to drain the fluid out of your knee. They can do this in their office. You won’t need to go to the hospital. It might hurt for a few days afterward. You’ll also wear a knee wrap to keep swelling down.
Steroid injection: The doctor can also give you a steroid shot in the swollen knee to ease inflammation. It’s a stronger dose of the medicine than you could take as a pill. It should work quickly, but you your knee might be painful and swollen for a few days.
Physical therapy: Your doctor can refer you to a physical therapist. You’ll learn stretches and exercises to make your knee muscles stronger and the joint more flexible. The therapist can also fit you with a knee brace or sleeve to give you more support and control swelling.
Infected Bursa Treatment
If your doctor sees signs of infection, they’ll prescribe antibiotics. If they don’t do the trick, they can also use a needle to drain the fluid.
If Nothing Helps
When bursitis doesn’t respond to treatment or flares up all the time, it could be time for surgery to remove the bursa. You and your doctor will decide if this is the right choice for you. It’s usually the last resort.
How to Prevent Bursitis
Follow these easy steps:
- Use kneepads or supports for any sports, work, or household tasks that strain your knees.
- Rest your knees from time to time. Stretch them so they stay limber. Don’t overdo it. If one type of exercise leaves you hurting, try something else. Ice your sore joint after activity.
- Sit, don’t squat. Use a stool when you weed the garden. You’ll put less strain your knees.
- Stay at a healthy weight. Extra pounds put added pressure on your knees and could make your joint problems worse.