You may be aware that bursitis of the knee can cause swelling, but is this necessarily so in every single case?

“Knee bursitis may or may not result in visible or even palpable swelling,” says Devin B. Peck, MD, owner of Austin Interventional Pain in Austin, TX.

Palpable refers to detecting the swelling by feeling with your fingers, whether or not you can visually detect it.

Dr. Peck adds, “The more superficial bursae [plural of bursa], such as the prepatellar, superficial infrapatellar or pes anserine bursae, are more likely to lead to swelling that can be seen without MRI or CT scan.”

Another condition of the knee, chondromalacia patella (sometimes referred to as patellofemoral syndrome) may produce symptoms that make a person wonder if indeed the problem is actually bursitis.

The symptoms have some overlap, and chondromalacia does not cause swelling – just like sometimes, bursitis won’t cause swelling.

Dr. Peck’s areas of interest include chronic and acute musculoskeletal pain, sports injuries, arthritis and cancer pain, among many others. Austin Interventional Pain was established in 2019.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  

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