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How to Treat Knee Bursitis

How to Treat Knee Bursitis

You can treat knee bursitis through a method known as R.I.C.E, which is a four-step plan that stands for rest, ice, compress, and elevate.

Rest: Rest your knee as it heals.  This decreases swelling and prevents bursitis from getting worse.  Start gradual movements once the swelling and pain decreases.

Ice: Apply ice to your knee for twenty minutes every couple of hours until the heat and swelling lessens.  Be careful not to leave the ice pack on your knee for too long as this can cause frostbite.

Compress: Wrap your knee with a form of compression such as bandages or air casts.  Loosen the bandage if your toes tingle or develop a bluish color.

Elevate: Lie supine (face-up) and raise or elevate your knee on pillows at a level above your heart.


Use heat after three days to lessen knee inflammation.  Utilize a heating pad, whirlpool, warm, moist compress, or a hot water bottle.  Ice and heat can be alternated.  Use ice when the knee is painful even when immobile.  Use heat to promote circulation if the pain occurs with movement.


Make sure to take the medicine the way it has been prescribed to you by your physician until it is all gone.  Your knee may feel better, but not finishing the prescription can cause more damage to your bursitis.

Physical Therapy

You might be directed to attend physical therapy where the therapist aids you with exercises once your bursitis has healed.  These exercises are implemented to strengthen the muscles and tendons of your knee, thigh and calf.  Massage is another aspect of therapy, which works well for bursitis.  Bursae respond very well to lymphatic massage.



Tags: How to treat knee bursitis, RICE, physical therapy for knee bursitis

Hendrickson, Thomas. Massage for orthopedic conditions. Philadelphia, Pa.: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2003. Print.

“Knee bursitis: Treatments and drugs –” Mayo Clinic. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2012. <>.





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