Knee Bursitis (water on the knee) Experiences?

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Anonymous's picture

"After a crash on a bike ride where I kissed the pavement I have one knee that is ""swollen with fluid"" and diagnosed as knee bursitis. My doctor says that it will eventually go away in a couple of months, but I cannot stay off the bike that long. When I ride the knee swells up with a small amount of fluid (large gumball size) and there is some pain but I keep riding anyways. Anyone have experience with this? How bad to my recovery is it that I am persistant to ride my usual 150 miles a week? The fluid is not sufficient enough to have it drained at this time, and I am hoping that the anti-inflammatory medication that I was prescribed will make it o.k. to ride through the pain."

Anonymous's picture
Chaim Caron (not verified)

I am not a doctor, but I think you are nuts to ride before you recover, given that the knee swells up and there is pain. I suggest you check with your doctor or a knee specialist. I know how hard it is to be off the bike and I wish you a speedy recovery!

Anonymous's picture
Inga (not verified)
I had the exact same thing

"I had knee bursitus a couple of years ago--maybe even worse--the swelling was more of a baseball size and had to be drained (all from ice skating after having several glasses of wine (stupidest idea ever) and going pretty fast--I ended up flying for about 20 feet in the air before hitting the ice full force).

The doc initially told me to stop doing ANY kind of physical activity for 3 months--I figured I'd be honest with him and admitted that wasn't going to happen--the best I could do was modify my activities to avoid the most harmful ones for the knee--he told me 1) NO running (at all, under no circumstances) and 2) NO lunges (too much pressure on the knee cap)... the rest is ok in moderation (but stop immediately if the knee starts hurting while doing it). He specifically told me elliptical machines at the gym would be fine--which makes me think that you are probably ok to keep riding--because the impact is probably similar (I didn't ask him about cycling b/c it was before I got into it)

I did lay off of running for 2.5 months, then went out for a short 3 mi test run--felt no pain whatsoever (which made me think I probably didn't have to wait that long), and from that day on I resumed my normal activities--and it hasn't bothered me since then.

My advice is:
1) find a doctor who understands athletes' mentality and knows you can't just STOP cycling, esp. this time of the year, unless it's absolutely necessary. With all kinds of injuries I've had over the past few years, I've seen many doctors--some just really don't get it... but some do, and will offer the best advice on how to manage injuries and train through them (and will be honest on whether it's even possible to train while recovering--but if those kind of doctors tell me that I have to take time off, I know I really don't have a choice).

2) if you decide to keep cycling, stay away from hilly terrain, and try not to push too big of a gear--to lessen the knee pressure/impact.

3) Ice works really well--in addition to anti-inflammatory medication. Also, you may want to check this out -- this stuff has done WONDERS for me on multiple occasions--I have not found anything more helpful in getting rid of inflammation, period. Not even close. Disclaimer--if you decide to try it, use it at your own risk--it's really controversial stuff (there's a lot of info on the page I gave you a link to--you can always do a google seach for more info--which I recommend so you can make an educated decision on whether you want to try it or not)--not approved for use by humans, not approved by FDA, etc. etc. I've never had any problems with it though--I actually asked my doctor if it's ok to use it, he was like, ""I tried it, it didn't do anything for me, but I know it works for a lot of people"". He suggested putting it on top of a layer of Arnica gel--and that's what I've been doing. If you decide to check it out, many websites sell it, and Westerly health food store on 54th/8th carries it too (sometimes they are out of stock). I recommend the gel in a green container:

Good luck!!! I know how much it sucks to be injured--so I really feel for you, and hope you get better soon!"

Anonymous's picture
Christian Edstrom (not verified)

Ever think about triathlons? Now might be a good time to get in some good swimming. With a pull buoy, if needed.

- Christian

cycling trips