The pes anserinus bursa is a thin, fluid-filled sac located on the inside of the knee joint. It cushions the joint and prevents your bones from rubbing against each other. Pes anserine bursitis is a condition characterized by inflammation of this bursa.
Pes anserine bursitis occurs when the bursa — or fluid-filled sac — inside your knee joint becomes irritated and produces too much fluid. The bursa then swells, causing knee pain and tenderness. This condition is sometimes called pes anserinus pain syndrome (PAPS).
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Pes anserinus bursitis is most common among athletes. The condition is also prevalent in adults with osteoarthritis and people with obesity. Statistically, anterior knee pain, or knee pain in the front of the knee, is most common in women over 50 with obesity.
Your pain level can vary depending on how advanced your condition is. In general, people with pes anserinus bursitis experience more discomfort when kneeling, standing up from a chair or walking up and down stairs. Typically, pain improves with sufficient rest.
Pes anserinus bursitis symptoms may be similar to that of a stress fracture. However, stress fractures in this particular area are uncommon. If you experience knee pain, schedule a consultation with your healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Your knee contains up to 11 bursae, including the suprapatellar, prepatellar, infrapatellar and pes anserinus bursae. Knee bursitis is a generalized term that refers to inflammation of any of these bursae. Anterior knee pain – or pes anserinus bursitis – refers specifically to inflammation of the pes anserinus bursa.
Bursitis most often occurs due to overuse or stress on the bursa. Some of the most common pes anserinus bursitis causes include:
People with pes anserinus bursitis usually develop one or more warning signs. Pes anserinus symptoms may include:
Your healthcare provider will examine your knee and discuss your symptoms with you. Because pes anserinus bursitis can exhibit the same symptoms as a stress fracture, an X-ray may be required to rule out a broken bone. Ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may also be necessary to determine the extent of your injury.
There are several ways to reduce discomfort and begin your road to recovery. Pes anserinus bursitis treatments include:
Though rare, people can develop complications due to lack of proper care. When pes anserinus bursitis is left untreated, you may experience an increase of inflammation and discomfort. Additionally, the muscles and tendons around your knee joint may weaken over time.
The best way to manage pes anserinus bursitis pain is to closely follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations. In addition to getting rest, taking medications and applying ice to the area, you can also try sleeping with a pillow between your thighs. This helps reduce pressure on the bursa and can ease your symptoms.
Most people with pes anserine bursitis heal in about six to eight weeks. It could take longer for more severe cases. You’re likely to recover faster if you rest and seek proper treatment.
To reduce your risk for pes anserinus bursitis, ask your healthcare provider to recommend exercises you can do at home. These exercises can help stretch and strengthen the muscles in your knees, thighs and abdomen — and in many cases, they can prevent a recurrence.
If you’re overweight, losing a few pounds can help take pressure off of the pes anserine bursa. Talk to your healthcare provider before making any changes to your diet.
Most people can return to work immediately following pes anserinus bursitis treatment, especially if you have a sedentary office job. However, if your job is physically demanding, you may need to take a few weeks off. Ask your healthcare provider when it’s safe for you to return to work or school.
Any time you develop persistent knee pain, you should schedule a visit with your healthcare provider. Pes anserinus bursitis can be successfully managed with prompt and proper care.
No. Pes anserinus bursitis can heal within six to eight weeks, as long as proper measures are taken. Some people may be more prone to developing the condition, especially athletes or those with osteoarthritis. However, with timely care, you can greatly reduce your risk for pes anserinus bursitis or prevent it altogether.
Pes anserinus bursitis refers to inflammation of the fluid-filled sac in the knee joint. Tendinitis is a condition characterized by inflammation of the tendons.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Knee pain can be debilitating and interfere with your quality of life. Fortunately, pes anserinus bursitis can be effectively treated, especially when diagnosed in the early stages. Your healthcare provider can determine a personalized treatment plan to ease your painful symptoms and help you return to normal life.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/19/2021.
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