Knee Bursitis Stretches & Exercises – Ask Doctor Jo

Knee Bursitis Stretches & Exercises – Ask Doctor Jo


Hey everybody, it’s Doctor Jo. One of the
funny things I hear patients say is “I got that Bursa in my knee.” But everybody actually
has bursa. What they’re talking about is Bursitis, which is basically the inflammation of the
bursa in the knee. We have a whole lot of them. The main ones are the suprapatellar
bursa, the prepatellar bursa, and the infrapatellar bursa, so I’m gonna show you some stretches
and exercises to hopefully get that bursa better. When the bursa are inflamed, and they
become bursitis, it’s really important to stretch out the muscles around the knee to
get that inflammation out of there. The big muscles around the knee are the calf muscles,
the hamstring muscles and the quad muscles. So let’s start out with the stretching. Starting
off with the calf, you can take a towel, something nice and long and roll it up. Make sure you
put it just at the ball of your foot, not too low, not too high, but just right there.
Keep your leg nice and straight, and pull the towel towards you. So make sure the towel’s
long enough where you don’t have to reach for it, but where you can sit up nice and
comfortable. Pull it as much as you can without pain, just to tension, and hold that for 30
seconds. Once you get to that 30 seconds, just relax it, and do that 3 more times. Getting
a big stretch in that calf muscle. The next stretch is for your hamstrings. You can lie
down this one and you can actually get kind of a combination stretch with your calf and
your hamstring. So still but that towel around the ball of your foot, and straighten out
your leg. So when you come up, actually pull your calf down, while you’re pulling your
leg up. Go about as high as you can, get a nice good stretch in there where it’s not
hurting but lots of tension. Hold it for 30 seconds and then relax. You can bend your
knee a little bit like that so you don’t have to come all the way back up, and then do that
a total of 3 times. The next one is your quad muscle. You can do this a couple different
ways, but if you don’t want to get a belt or a towel or something, you can just turn
on your side grab you ankle and pull back behind you. If you knee is coming forward
like this, you’re not actually stretching that quad very well. So try and bring your
leg back, past the plane and pull your heel towards your bottom as much as you can. Hold
that for 30 seconds and then relax. And then do that 3 times. Now if you’re not as flexible
like me to be able to grab your ankle, then you can use a towel or a belt and kind of
wrap it around the ankle so you can pull on it a little bit. Now we’re going to go into
a bit of strengthening. Once get the knee nice and stretched out. If you have your roll
handy, I like using a target for my knee. Cause I feel like people push a little harder
if they have a target. You don’t have to put anything under your knee, but I think it really
helps it out. This is gonna be what we call a quad set. So basically, you;re trying to
take your knee, and push it down into the towel as hard as you comfortable can. Trying
to straighten out that knee. Hold it there for about 3-5 seconds, and then relax. Do
about 10-15 of those, and do about 2-3 sets. Holding it for about 3-5 seconds. If you pull
your toes up, that will help push it down. And then relax it. The next one is an actual
straight leg raise. So get down on the ground nice and comfortable. Again pull your toes
up cause that’s gonna help lock out your knee. You want your leg to stay nice and straight
for this. If you feel like your knee is bent, then you’re not quite getting the exercise
that’s gonna be beneficial for this. So pull your toes nice and tight, and bring your leg
up trying to keep it straight, just to about equal to the other leg when it’s bent up.
So not this, that’s actually changing the exercise, and not actually getting a much
benefit with the muscles. But just bring it here and then slowly come back down. Don’t
let gravity just drop it back down, but really control it. Going up and down. Again start
with 10-15 and then work your way up to 2-3 sets of those. If those become easy, you can
actually add some ankle weights after that. And then the last one, is gonna be lying on
your side. THe leg that you want to work is gonna be on top. The leg on the bottom can
kind of be just bent behind you. You want your hips to be up, perpendicular to the ground.
If your hips are rolling back, again your not gonna work the muscle that you want. So
again, the leg you want to strengthen is gonna be on top. Pull those toes tight again, to
keep that leg nice and straight, and just lift it about 12 to 15 inches off the ground.
And slowly come down. If you feel like your leg is drifting forward, try and keep it straight.
You want your whole body to be in a straight line with those hips up. So again, starting
about 10-15 of those nice and controlled. Work your way up to 20-25, 2-3 sets, if that
becomes easy then you can add some weights. So those were the exercises and stretches
to make your knee bursa feel better. If you have any questions, leave them int he comments
section. And if you’d like to check out some other videos, go to AskDoctorJo.com. Don’t
forget to follow me on Facebook and Twitter. And remember, be safe, have fun, and I hope
you feel better soon.

100 Replies to “Knee Bursitis Stretches & Exercises – Ask Doctor Jo”

  1. Thank you very much. The leg raises helped me realized how week the knee with the problem is compared to the other. Much relief after this first try. I will definitely keep this up.

  2. I have had pain in my knee ever since riding a century tour in NYC. I stayed off the bike for 5 months and it still hurt. I just had a shot into the knee that was to alleviate the pain but it is still there. I will now do these stretches every day. Thanks hope it helps me.

  3. What a great channel! I have been going for a few physio treatments and I really like the relief of ultrasound on my knee. I was looking at purchasing a home unit online. Just wondered if you had any thoughts on the effectiveness of these machines? Thx!

  4. i have a question… i cant straight out my knee it hurts alot when i try to:( do u know whats happenin? this is the third time it happens to me:(

  5. This is the first time I have ever gotten knee bursitis and I have been taking care of it. I have iced, heat, wrapped , and taped. I made a couple of mistakes because I was trying to diagnose the pain. At first I thought it was runners knee so KT taped it for runners knee which made it worse. I then located the pain and googled it reading all the medical journals I could. Now that I know what it is I have been taking care of it appropriately, but the back of my knee is so swollen and irratated that I can't even stretch because it is inhibiting motion. Now my whole leg is swollen. I am going to try the excercise you have shown but what should I do to reduce the swelling?

  6. hi ! my doctor diagnosed me is pes anserine brutitis & a slightly torn meniscus. will these exercises help heal this ? and how long is the usual recovery ? thank you 🙂

  7. Hi i have this knee(left) problem not sure what it is. The doctor said I irritated a muscle what ever that means. I can walk with and run with no pain. i can lift things and lean on that knee no problem no pain. But when i quickly bend or kneel on it with my full weight it hurts pretty bad. A little swelling. there but barely noticeable. Just wanted to know if you think its bursitis. Ive had it for about 5 days and it hasnt improved or worsened

  8. Hi Dr Jo.
    In the last week or so I have felt some slight discomfort in my knee joint, not majorly, just minor. its seems to manly occur when I straighten the knee joint for the most part. I have also noticed a dull ache if laying still for a long period or time (i.e morning). I have drawn to the conclusion it maybe a tracking issue stemming from ITB tightness and weaker hips. Does this sound right? i weight train alot and this has come on suddenly. thanks!

  9. These stretches and exercises really do help! Thanks for the video! Right now II can only do three sets of five with the last two exercises…the straight leg raise and the one for the hip abductors. But I know that I can increase those eventually to sets of ten, and then higher. These will become part of my daily morning routine. I want this bursitis to heal, and never come back. I wonder if I should do these exercises for my other leg as a preventative against knee injury. What is your opinion?

  10. Just found your video…looks like a great set of exercises! Question: I had a double knee injury about 5 years ago…doctor told me permanent chronic bursitis (being double jointed doesnt help, I guess). I was doing decent until I fell down a hill the other day. I iced right away, took some aleve, and have been doing my tens until regularly since then. In your opinion, is it too soon to start these exercises?

  11. I'm recovering from knee bursitis.. I took my medicine and the swelling went down.. I can bend my knee easily, but when it comes to straightening it out.. I really just can't.. My knee just feels like it's in cement and Its just super uncomfortable when I try to straighten it..

  12. been trying to bend down to touch my toes using my newfound hip hinge. however the back of my knee area (slightly above the 'pits') seems to be really tight preventing me from holding the position.

    are these exercises in the video helpful for this?

  13. I can't believe how brilliant these exercise are
    I've been doing them for about 10 minutes and already am feeling IMMENSE relief

    thank you so much.

  14. I had a relapse of knee bursitis for no reason whatsoever. Three weeks later I am still limping and can't bend my knee very well and still have some swelling. Trying your exercises to see if they help. Should I be doing anything else?

  15. I've had a severely swollen knee for 3 months now. I've had the fluid aspirated twice, the first time it started coming back in an hour and the second time they injected me with a cortozone shot and the fluid came back 5 days later. I've had the fluid tested, blood work, X-Ray, MRI. Everything has come back negative, no gout, no arthritis, no injury to the knee. I as well as the orthopedic are at a complete loss for what's causing the fluid. Aside from limited range of motion due to the amount of fluid in my knee I cannot flex my quad which makes me think it's a quad or quad tendon issue (but would something like that cause the fluid in my knee and to return so quickly when it's taken out?

  16. I know this video is from a while ago but hopefully someone can help. My pain fits the description of bursitis BUT it's only super painful when I put pressure on it, like kneeling while cleaning. Could it be bursitis if it is not consistent pain? Thanks for this video! Your channel is super informative and helpful! ❤

  17. Intermittent fasting helped in getting my knee bursitis inflammation down.The physio said it would take about 8 weeks for someone with my diabetic background. Today is my week 4 since 24th April in getting better. I can now comfortably walk up the stairs and get up from seats and chairs etc…thanks for video

  18. Thank you! I've been on my feet all day at work and my knee feels so much better after these stretches. I will be watching this video repeatedly!

  19. Thanks Dr Jo.
    Is it ok to do the strengthening when the bursa is inflamed, or should I just do the stretches until it the inflammation goes down first , and then work on the strengthening later. ?

  20. if your bursa is inflamed, are these exercises safe to do in pain. My PT suggested that I still exercise since my muscles and quads are weak. also how often should I do it for pain relief?

  21. Thanks for your videos, Dr Jo!
    (1) How many times a day you would suggest we should we do these exercises? I have read somewhere else that to gain the maximum benefit from this kind of recovery program, one must stretch hamstrings frequently during the day, sometimes HOURLY!!
    (2) Any other exercises you would suggest for quadriceps strengthening and core strengthening?

  22. Your videos are incredibly helpful and your funny personality makes them enjoyable to watch. I'm an avid hiker, like to do 10+ miles a day in the Sierras and a few months ago started having knee pain. The MRI of my left knee showed mild extensor tendinosis and mild posteromedial bursal inflammation. After weeks of rest and no improvement the doc gave me a depo medrol shot 2 days ago so maybe that will help. I'm watching almost all your videos and have starting doing many of your exercises. Just trying to dial down which ones would be the most helpful. They're so many! Thanks for your great videos

  23. You have helped me more than all the doctors, surgeons and medical websites put together! With knee bursitis due to arthritis I was told to just rest and take antiflam meds ice packs on the inflamed area. It was almost getting worse. Until I came across your videos. Wow! It was a miraculous loosening up of my stiff knee and immediate relief from pain. Thankyou thankyou thankyou!!!.

  24. I don't think you mentioned Pes Anserine Bursa. Mine has been painful for several months now. I believe it was from kneeling down fixing my bathtub. Is there a fix for this?

  25. Hi Doctor Jo. I'm having problems with PTTD. Since I started to do some of your exercises for PTTD, goose foot has caught me. I have a flat feet expecially in a left leg and that leg is a problem. I'm not a sportman, I like to walk fast, just it. I was overweight, I lost 20 kg and then I started to have problems with my leg (afer loosing kilograms it should be better, but not in my case). I'm twisting my leg inside while I'm walking, I have special orthopedic insoles but I had to stopped wearing them cause my big toe in a left leg started to hurts… Besides it, I have a problem with my cuboid bone in the same left leg, but I know how to treat it and it's not bothering me so much. As you can see, I am almost a cripple. The reason is my bad posture – something I can't change. I'm still overstretching my muscles. I feel broken. Injury after injury. I lost a faith that someday I will be walking without a pain and fear that new injury will appear. Anyway, do you recommend these exercises for goose foot? Btw, sorry for my bad english.

  26. Dr.Jo the excersizs hurt really bad and i cant bend it all the way. Can you just go half the distance and work from there? Or does i have to bend it fully.

  27. Thank you doctor jo I did this exercise once and I already feel 100x better. You just saved me 100's of dollars.

  28. Thanks for this. I went to the Dr. and they didn't have info on anything other than cortisone shots. This is very helpful.

  29. doc Jo, I need help, should i take anti inflammation med? do the stretching without it? or i do both? is swimming also good for healing bursa quick doc?

  30. I really appreciate the information.

    I’ve started doing these. My goal is to get back to squatting with weights.

    How often should I do these?

    And should I wait for the ache to completely go away before I start squatting?

    Thanks again for the vid!

  31. So glad I tried these exercises. My knee is very swollen. On the second rep of the exercise with the towel under knee I felt the Bakers Cyst get squeezed right out, with the noise and sensation I thought I did some damage. But no pain and was able to bend knee further without pain straight after. Pain at back of knee is gone. Thanks.

  32. Is it alowed to put ice stuf on my knee and can i ride a bicycle? I was told to not move much as long i have bursitis. Now i am surprised that there is exercises for it…. Please respond… Thank you.

  33. The best site for safe,simple,practical and informed advice on repair and recovery and easy to watch too-thanks for your help.

  34. So I love art, I cant really sit at my desk because I have t4 syndrome that affects my back so I been kneeling as it doesnt hurt my back but now I've seemed to develop what sounds like bursitis in my knee. I've had it for 2 days, been rubbing ice, pulped ginger, and resting it but once I've healed a little more I will do some exercises.

  35. Hello Dr. Jo…I pulled a ligament in my knee (NOT torn, just pulled), and it seems to be taking weeks to heal. What exercises do you recommend, and is there any vitamin or mineral that you can recommend to help speed the healing? I am 57, by the way, and I think age slows down the healing process.

  36. Hi, Dr Jo. I seemed to have developed bursitis after only a week or so of a beginner walk/run program. I decided to rest, I found your videos and tried your remedies a few times. I’ve also been icing as much as possible for about a week. But I still have the tenderness and stiffness. I thought after such a short cause and a week of treating it, that it’d be better. Am I wrong? What’s the usual recovery time? Thanks!

  37. I have suprapatellar bursitis and I have a problem going through the stairs and can't stand for long will these exercises be helpful?

  38. Don't think I should do the one stretching the quad-muscle. It feels like I will rip something on the front of my knee. Do you know if this is typical for prepatellar bursitis?

  39. Dr Jo
    I had a Pre-Patella Bursitis I&D 1.5 years ago. Ever since then, my knee is NOT the same…in the sense that my ligaments and tendons cramp up a lot! I went through physical therapy to get my knee strengthened up. But my knee is NOT the same. It's tender and I can't kneel on it. Help…..

  40. Dr Jo, this has been so helpful. This is my second flareup of bursitis in my knee (the first one was last August and took me a couple of months to get fully back to normal). I'm wondering if there is anything I can do in the future to keep this from occurring again down the road? Also, do I need to baby this knee, as I tend to do (fearful that it might happen again)? Thanks so much.

  41. Hello good evening maam
    I m faizan from kashmir in india thanku soo muchh
    I want to say that
    I LOVE U MAAM
    u r giving us so valuable things thnku

  42. before 5 weeks my left knee injured. mri says partial acl. and madarete superabpattelar bursal effusion. i m worry about that still swelling in knee. how manage bursal effusion.

  43. I have my bursitis already showing and it is like another knee how do I reduce it I am resting it and on medication and ice pack as asked by the doctor please help

  44. I think and I pray you can help me, I have being going to the gym (5 times a week) for almost 2 years, I never put excessive weight while working on my legs. I have being getting knee pain (on the sides) for like 2 or 3 months. 2 weeks ago I was standing normally, I suddenly felt my knee got stuck together (sort of) so I couldn't stretch my leg completely and I couldn't step on it for 3 days, and still don't know why this happened. (I put a lot of strength on my right knee those days)- Went to the Dr he gave me medicine and sent me home. I felt better after resting a bit (a week not going to the gym) but this week the other knee is a bit swollen, went to the DR he did Xray and he says nothing shows I need an MRI (I don't have insurance and I can't afford it ) he gave me medicine( an antibiotic for pain in joints I think) and I decided to rest another week from the Gym, but I don't want to leave it, and I want to feel better. I am not 100% sure I have bursitis, he said you might have that. What do you think? the pain comes specially when I stand for too long, I work sitting down, (5 or 6 hours a day but not after each other as I work from home) but the pain going down my legs (all over both legs) I really don't know anymore…. please help me

  45. Thank You Dr Jo feel so much better after first try. Your video help me in the past as well to cure my femoral patella syndrome. I really appreciated you to put these videos on YouTube.

  46. Thank you so much!! my "Bursa" feels much much beter after the exercises! is Amazing! ill do it 3 times a dayill be back to normal in no time i hope 🙂

  47. Your videos are extremely helpful, I have had chronic pain from workouts and improper or not enough stretching. Very helpful, thanks.

  48. Dear Dr. Jo, I really hope to ask your advice on how often should I do this physio exercises. I have early OA in both knees and chronic bursitis in both knees. The problem is I just don't know how often / much to do these exercises. I have been doing every day for the past 2 weeks – I only manage to do 1 set per day. But do be honest, every night I am in severe pain. What do you recommend? Should I really rest up and start back when I am better? Or should I power through the pain and keep to the one set per day? Or should reduce the one set – meaning instead of 10 times per exercise, I try 5. I am so confused! I am caught in between – when I rest, I worry the muscles are getting weak. When I do the physio, I have discomfort every day and intensely. The problem is when I start back the physio after a period of rest, the bursa becomes inflamed again. Its a viscous cycle! Another alternative is that maybe I should do the physio on the alternate legs – meaning when my left leg is pain, I do physio for the right leg and vice versa (weirdly, the knee bursitis severity switches up from leg to leg)

    So sorry for the long message. I hope you can help. Thank you for your videos. They are very helpful and encouraging. God bless.

  49. Doctor Jo, you are the best! Your stretches are the best, they force the immense relax and even make me sleepy. It’s the best indication to me. Thank you very much’

  50. Hi Jo, thank you for the videos, they are helpful. I have infrapatellar bursitis in both knees, and it came to light about 7 weeks ago. It, along with meniscal tears were confirmed by imaging :(. I started doing physio about a week ago and now I'm doing stretches as per the PT. ONly thing I'm concerned about is the quad stretch, seems like that one squeezes the infrapatellar bursa, which can irritate it a bit. It's not quite pain, but just that nagging sensation that the bursitis isn't going away. Am I just being overly anxious? Need to give it more time?

  51. Dr. Jo, I want to know about the pants you are wearing in this video. They look super comfy and probably good for traveling. I lost 70 pounds and can no longer wear my Royal Robbins travel pants which I loved and they no longer make them. So I'm looking for a good replacement. AND, thanks for the stretches. Pretty sure bursitis is what I've got going on in my knee. Spring in MN can make a girl overdo it on the bicycling and walking and I'm paying the price of being overexcited about nice weather.

  52. You are very generous to share with us such useful information,!Thank you very much for your kindness!!

  53. I have prepatellar bursitis from a fall 6 months ago. 1 month ago I decided to do a quad stretch, and immediately my knee was significantly worse. I was unable to straighten it without pain and needed a stick to hobble around for a week. I't still not right and I'm avoiding walking as much as possible. What did I do wrong?

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