Knee pain can be really frustrating, especially if you’re not sure what’s causing it. If you’re wondering whether the pain in your knee is tendonitis or bursitis, we’ve got some answers for you.

In this video, we’ll talk about three common signs of tendonitis and bursitis: pain or discomfort around the knee, swelling, and pain with repetitive motions.

If any of these symptoms sound familiar to you, watch this video to learn how to identify causes of knee pain and prevent it from happening again.

My name is Dr. David Geier – orthopedic surgeon, sports medicine specialist, and anti-aging and regenerative medicine expert. I help you feel, look and perform your best, regardless of age or injury.

Tendinitis is a condition that develops when your tendon is inflamed. Bursitis is similar, except it occurs in the bursa—a fluid-filled sac near your joint. Both tendinitis and bursitis can lead to knee pain, stiffness, swelling and tenderness. If you suspect that you have tendinitis or bursitis in your knee, it’s important to get treatment quickly from a doctor who specializes in musculoskeletal injuries.

There are three common signs of tendinitis and bursitis.

Pain and inflammation

The first sign is pain and inflammation, which can be felt as aches or sharp pains in specific areas around the knee. You may also experience swelling around your knee joint.

The second sign is pain when walking or running. This could indicate that you have tendinitis in need of treatment by a doctor or physical therapist. In terms of location, the pain caused by tendinitis is usually felt above or below the kneecap. The pain caused by bursitis is usually felt on top of the kneecap.

Pain from these conditions may be worse when you bend your knee, especially if you have to do it repeatedly in a day (such as during exercise). The pain can also be felt when you are sitting down or standing up, which means that you might have problems getting up from a chair without using one hand to help support yourself while getting up from sitting position.

Swelling around the joint or on top of the kneecap

Swelling is a very common sign of bursitis in the knee, especially what we call prepatellar bursitis. This swelling usually results from repeated or prolonged pressure on the kneecap, such as a mechanic or carpenter kneeling while performing his or her job. This swelling of the bursa, a normal, fluid-filled sac, can be painful or non-painful. Redness and warmth of this swollen bursa could indicate an infection of that bursa, which usually needs surgery to drain and clean out the area.

Pain when walking, running or jumping

Pain when walking, running or jumping are common signs of both tendinitis and bursitis. With tendinitis, such as patellar or quadriceps tendinitis, a repetitive motion can cause inflammation or even a small area of degeneration within the tendon, making those activities painful.


If you have knee pain and swelling, it can be a good idea to see a doctor. If you’re diagnosed with tendinitis or bursitis, your doctor may recommend rest, ice packs and other treatments, such as working with a physical therapist. Injections can also be helpful to some patients to relieve inflammation in the area.

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