Knee Bursitis is an inflammatory condition of the knee. Basically, the suffix –itis refers to inflammation. Therefore bursitis is the inflammation of the bursa. A bursa is a sac filled with fluid. These sacs serve as cushions, allowing the bones of the body to move without scraping against each other, thus preventing friction and pain.
Both knees have 11 bursae however, the bursae most prone to bursitis are the ones located over the kneecap and below the knee joint. Knee Bursitis is common to house maids, carpet and floor installers and coal miners – basically workers who need to kneel down or crawl to perform their jobs.
How it Progresses
The Bursae walls are incredibly thin. This makes them prone to damage or irritation. Knee Bursitis can happen acutely or over time. For instance, sudden trauma to the knee can puncture the bursa and allow nearby fluids such as blood to enter the sac. This causes an inflammatory reaction characterized by pain in the knees.
In cases of work-related Knee Bursitis, the patient’s knees are constantly under strain due to kneeling. Over time, the walls of the bursae are thinned and damaged, thus allowing the nearby fluids to enter the sac.
In some cases, Knee Bursitis can be worsened by infection. This happens if the patient already has an ongoing blood infection and the bacteria-carrying-blood enter the bursa.
Signs and Symptoms
The most common symptom of Knee Bursitis is swelling of the knee. Some can even swell to the size of a tennis ball. Pain can also be felt if pressure is applied to the swollen area. If the Knee Bursitis is infected, the knees can appear reddish and are warm to touch. Also, the disease is often accompanied by fever.
The swelling and inflammation of the knees can be symptoms of any disease. Hence doctors are only able to make an accurate diagnosis if they couple their physical examinations with adequate medical history taking. In some cases, patients are unable to remember any severe trauma to the knee, hence Knee Bursitis can remain undiagnosed.
Physical inspection is not enough to diagnose infected bursae. Aspiration of the fluid of the knees is required. The fluid is then submitted for Gram staining and cell culture in order to determine the presence of an infection and the specific bacteria that causes it.
Treatment of Knee Bursitis is possible albeit slow. Patients with this disease must apply ice to the area to reduce its swelling. Also, anti-inflammatory drugs are given orally to reduce the pain and inflammation. Lifting the leg is also advisable to facilitate the drainage of the fluid away from the knees.
In severe cases, the fluids from the knees are aspirated to remove the fluid faster. Once the excess fluid is eliminated, the patient can start rehabilitative therapy and joint exercises.
For those with infected Knee Bursitis, the patients must undergo antibiotic treatments. This can be provided orally or via intravenous (IV) route.
All employers are required to provide the adequate clothes and equipment necessary to reduce occupation hazards for their employees. In the event that employers are proven to neglect this obligation, workers may employ the aid of third parties to claim compensation. The company’s work accident book and the patient’s medical documents may be presented as grounds for the computation of compensation.