Knee Bursitis Stretches & Exercises

Hi, I'm Doctor Jo, a Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy. I hope you enjoy my video demos of stretches & exercises for common injuries and syndromes. Be safe. Have fun. And I hope you feel better soon.

Buy Knee Bursitis WorksheetI often hear patients tell me they have that bursa. Well everyone has bursas throughout their bodies. A bursa is basically a small fluid filled sac that protects our tendons from rubbing on the bones. When the bursa becomes inflamed, it swells up, and can become very painful. This is called bursitis. The most common spots for this are the hips, knees, and shoulders. Today I am going to show you some simple stretches and exercises to help with knee bursitis.

The main muscles around the knee are the calf muscles, the quad muscles, and the hamstring muscles. The first stretch is going to be a calf stretch. You can use a long towel like a beach towel and roll it up to help with the stretch. Make sure you put it just at the ball of your foot. Not too low and not too high. Keep your leg nice and straight (don't bend the knee), and pull the towel towards you until you feel a stretch. This shouldn't be painful, just tension. Hold for 30 seconds and do it 3 times.  

The next stretch is going to be for the hamstrings. You can get a combination stretch with this for your hamstrings and your calf muscles. Keep the towel at the ball of your foot, and lie down on the ground. Keeping your leg straight without bending your knee, pull your leg straight upward and pull your toes towards you to get the calf as well. Hold for 30 seconds and do this 3 times.

Now you are going to stretch your quad muscle. You can do this a few different ways. If you don't have a belt or strap close by, you can lie on your side and grab your ankle behind you. Gently pull your foot/ankle towards your bottom. If your thigh is coming forward past your hips, then you are not going to get a good stretch. Try to keep your thigh in alignment with your hips or even slightly behind you. Hold for 30 seconds and do it 3 times. You can use a towel or belt to wrap around your ankle if you are really tight and can't grab your ankle with your hand.

It's time for some strengthening exercises now. The first strengthening exercise is a quad set. I like to use a towel or roll as a target, but you don't have to use anything. Take the towel, roll it up, and place it just under your knee. Push your knee downward into the roll like you are trying to straighten your knee as much as you can. Pulling your toes up towards you helps straighten your knee. Hold this for 3-5 seconds and do 10-15 of them, and do 2-3 sets.

Next is a straight leg raise (SLR). Lie down on your back, and bend one knee up. Straighten out the leg you want to exercise. Pull your toes toward you to help lock out the knee. Just lift your leg to the height of your bended knee. There is no need to kick your leg way up in the air, and it actually takes away from the exercise. Make sure you are slow and controlled with this exercise. Going fast and using momentum will not be effective. If you get to 20-25 and it is easy, then you can add weights if you have them.

Finally, you are going to turn onto your side. This is to strengthen your hip abductors. The leg you want to work is going to be on top, and the bottom leg can be slightly bent for comfort. You want to use the same technique where you keep your leg straight, and you pull your toes toward you to lock out the knee. Try to keep your leg in a straight line with your body keeping your hip up and perpendicular with the ground. Again, use controlled movements, and you don't have to kick your leg way up in the air. If you get to 20-25 and it is easy, then you can add weights if you have them.

 

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