Knee Bursitis: How Physical Therapy Get’s You Back On Track

Person with hand on other person's knee

Recovering from Knee Bursitis: How Physical Therapy Can Get You Back on Track


Physical therapy is often overlooked as a treatment option, but it can be an incredibly effective way to get relief from many kinds of chronic pain and injury. Knee bursitis is no exception, and physical therapy is an excellent treatment choice that can help with the symptoms and long-term management of knee bursitis. This article will outline what to expect when beginning physical therapy for knee bursitis, the types of exercises typically recommended by therapists, how long recovery times are expected to take, how physical therapy can help prevent reinjury down the line, and end with a conclusion summing up the article.

What To Expect At Physical Therapy

When beginning physical therapy for knee bursitis, your first visit will usually involve an initial evaluation with your physical therapist. During this evaluation, you will likely discuss any symptoms you are experiencing, your medical history, and any diagnostic tests that may have been conducted prior to the appointment. Your physical therapist will also assess your range of motion, strength, and overall function to determine which areas need improvement. Following the evaluation, your physical therapist will develop a treatment plan tailored to meet your individual needs.

During sessions with your physical therapist they may perform manual therapy techniques such as massage or manipulation to help loosen tight muscles or other tissues in the knee area as well as stretching exercises to improve flexibility and range of motion. Your treatment plan will also include specific home exercises to be performed between visits that can further help strengthen muscle around the knee joint.

What Types of Exercises You Might Do

The exact exercises recommended by your physical therapist will depend on the severity of your knee bursitis, however a few common exercises that may be incorporated into your treatment plan include:

Quad sets: This exercise is used to strengthen the quadriceps muscle in the front of the thigh which can help reduce pain and improve function in the knee.

Hamstring stretches: Tight hamstring muscles can cause increased stress on the knee joint so it’s important to maintain flexibility in these muscles as well.

Calf raises and squats: The calf muscles provide stability for the knee joint so strengthening them through calf raises and squats can help reduce pain when walking or running.

Balance exercises: To help prevent further injury and to improve coordination, balance exercises may also be included in your treatment plan.

How Long Recovery Takes

The duration of physical therapy will depend on the severity of the condition as well as progress made during treatment. Generally speaking, it is normal to see improvement within 4-6 weeks but complete recovery can take anywhere from 6 weeks up to several months. It is important that you follow all instructions given by your physical therapist for the best possible outcome.

How Physical Therapy Prevents Reinjury

Physical therapy plays an important role in preventing knee bursitis from recurring throughout a person’s lifetime since it helps to strengthen and stabilize the muscles and ligaments around the knee. The exercises taught during physical therapy sessions help to improve coordination, balance, and flexibility which can go a long way in helping you avoid re-injury. Additionally, your physical therapist will be able to give advice on how to modify activities that may put excessive strain on the joint or increase risk for injury so that you are better equipped to stay active and healthy in the future.


Knee bursitis can be an incredibly painful condition that limits your mobility and ability to participate in everyday activities; however with proper treatment through physical therapy, it is possible to manage symptoms and reduce pain. Physical therapists can provide guidance on specific exercises as well as strategies on how best to prevent re-injury. As long as you adhere to the instructions of your physical therapist and follow up with any recommendations given, you should see improvement in your condition within a few weeks.