Endurance athletes are often some of the healthiest individuals. However, these individuals are frequently troubled with a variety of different overuse injuries. The areas injured are typically those that are utilized most frequently by the athlete. Cyclists and runners tend to be some of the most frequently injured athletes due to the repetitive nature of their sports. One injury that each group of athletes experiences frequently is called pes anserine bursitis. Because it is so common, recognizing it and learning to treat it can help keep these athletes active for longer.
What is Pes Anserine Bursitis?
Pes anserine bursitis is a condition in which the bursa that underlies a structure called the pes anserine becomes inflamed. A bursa is a pouch of fluid that provides lubrication to a particular area in the body. There are several bursa located in the knee joint. The pes anserine bursa is located just below the knee on the inner aspect of the joint.
When the muscles of the pes anserine are utilized frequently over an extended period of time, they can irritate the bursa, leading to pain and inflammation. The muscles of the pes anserine include sartorius, gracilis, and semitendinosus.
Signs and Symptoms of Pes Anserine Bursitis
Because the pes anserine bursa is the primary structure involved, most of the symptoms occur where it is located. Other signs and symptoms include:
- Moving the knee joint through its range of motion is painful
- Hamstring curls are painful
- Hamstring tightness
- Crossing the involved leg over the opposite is painful
- Tenderness over the pes anserine bursa
How is Pes Anserine Bursitis Treated?
Physiotherapists can treat pes anserine bursitis typically by providing various modalities for pain and swelling in the affected area. Soft tissue mobilization, or massage, is often very effective at relieving some of the tightness in the tissue that is leading to irritation of the pes anserine bursa.
Once the pain and swelling has been eliminated or reduced, correcting any biomechanical abnormalities that may be present is the second task of physiotherapists. They may look at the athlete's hip, knee, or foot to identify any issues that may be present at these joints. Once these issues have been identified, stretching or strengthening interventions can be applied.
For cyclists, physiotherapists may look at the athlete's bicycle to determine if it is fit properly. If it does not, the practitioner can provide several suggestions to place the athlete in more optimal alignment.
For runners, physiotherapists look at the athlete's training protocol, as well as the type of shoe in which he or she runs. Athletes who overpronate are more likely to experience pes anserine bursitis, so a different shoe or orthotic insert can effectively relieve their pain.
Talk with a clinic like Family Foot & Ankle Physicians if you're experiencing pain that you think is related to pes anserine bursitis.