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Anserine bursitis of the knee

Pain and tenderness on the inside of your knee, just about two inches below the joint, are two of the symptoms of pes anserine bursitis of the knee. The pes anserine bursa is a small lubricating sac located between the shinbone (tibia) and three tendons of the hamstrings muscle at the inside of the knee. Because the three tendons splay out on the front of the shinbone and look like the foot of a goose, pes anserine bursitis is also known as "goose foot" bursitis.

Risk factors of Anserine bursitis

Bursitis, an inflammation of a bursa, usually develops as the result of overuse or constant friction and stress on the bursa. Pes anserine bursitis is common in people with osteoarthritis of the knee. Athletes, particularly runners, are also susceptible. Several factors can contribute to the development of pes anserine bursitis, including:

  • Incorrect training techniques, such as neglecting to stretch, doing excessive hill running and sudden increases in mileage.
  • Tight hamstring muscles.
  • Obesity.
  • An out-turning of the knee or lower leg.
  • Osteoarthritis in the knee.

Symptoms of Anserine Bursitis

  • Pain slowly develops on the inside of the knee and/or in the center of the shinbone, about two to three inches below the knee joint.
  • Pain increases with exercise or climbing stairs.
  • Symptoms may mimic those of a stress fracture, so an X-ray is usually required for diagnosis.

Treatment of Anserine Bursitis

Athletes who have pes anserine bursitis should take steps to modify their workout program so that the inflammation does not recur. Other treatments include:

  • Rest. Discontinue the activity or substitute a different activity until the bursitis clears up.
  • Ice. Apply ice at regular intervals three or four times a day for 20 minutes at a time.
  • Anti-inflammatory medication. Aspirin or ibuprofen will ease the pain and reduce the inflammation.
  • Injection. Your doctor may inject a solution of anesthetic and steroid into the bursa. This often provides prompt relief.

September 2000

Bursitis Picture

Modified 3-8-04
Information compiled from the National Institutes of Health





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