Knee Bursitis Stretches & Exercises - Ask Doctor Jo

Author: AskDoctorJo

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.

Knee Bursitis Stretches & Exercises - Ask Doctor Jo

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 Don't forget to follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

And remember, be safe, have fun, and I hope you feel better soon.

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