Pes anserine bursitis is a specific form of knee bursitis that affects the medial part of the knee. Fortunately, most episodes are acute, but in some people the pes anserine bursa can be chronically inflamed. There are several treatment options to minimize or eliminate pain and improve functionality.
The type of compress you do will depend on the exact problem related to your bursitis. A cold compress can help reduce inflammation. If you have a difficult time tolerating cold, especially when you have underlying arthritis, try using a cloth or ice pack that is just large enough to cover the bursa. Leave the cold compress on for a few minutes at a time to avoid discomfort. Since the pes anserine bursa does not cover a large area, you may be able to use an ice cube and rub it over the area to do cold compresses. Many people with bursitis experience stiffness near the joint, often after inactivity or when they wake up in the morning. Stiffness can be improved by using heat. A washcloth soaked in warm water should help. As you are heating up the bursae, gently move your knee to help loosen up the area.
There are several methods you can use to reduce inflammation. Retail anti-inflammatory medications are a good choice for acute bursitis episodes. Some doctors may recommend a steroid injection if the pain is significant after an acute episode or if you have recurrent or chronic episodes of pes anserine bursitis. Since steroid injections have a fast onset, it is ideal for pain that is not responding to medications or other pain relief methods. Unfortunately, recurrent or chronic problems with bursitis can only be treated with steroid injections a few times per year. If you had several steroid injections for bursitis and the problem is still ongoing, it may be time to consider a permanent treatment.
Surgery may be the right option if you experience significant pain and less invasive options do not work or the only method that is effective is regular use of steroid injections. If you have an underlying condition, such as osteoarthritis or inflammatory arthritis, it is possible your condition is contributing to bursitis, and it is unlikely to resolve without surgery. The surgical approach for pes anserine bursitis is to remove the bursa so it can no longer cause pain. Although a normal-functioning bursa is responsible for reducing friction between tendons and bone, it is likely less painful to have your bursa removed than to have ongoing bursitis. Contact an orthopaedic surgeon for more information.
Pes anserine bursitis is often an acute problem after a knee injury, but can escalate into a chronic pain, especially in people with underlying arthritis. Fortunately, there are ways to manage both acute and chronic bursitis and improve pain and functioning.