Updated: 7/8/2018

Pes Anserine Bursitis

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  • Coronal MRI Pes Anserine BursitisAn obese 47-year-old woman with diabetes presents to her orthopedist reporting left medial knee pain for the past 6 months. She denies any inciting injury or trauma. The pain is worse when she climbs stairs or rises from a seated position. On physical exam, there is tenderness to palpation over the anteromedial proximal tibia. A radiograph reveals no fracture and a follow-up magnetic resonance imaging of the left knee shows fluid accumulation around the pes anserine bursa. 
  • Clinical definition
    • inflammation of the medial knee that often coexists with other knee disorders and is characterized by spontaneous pain
  • Epidemiology
    • demographics
      • female > male
      • common in young adults who actively do sports
      • common in overweight middle-aged women
      • common in older adults with osteoarthritis
    • location
      • the pes anserine bursa and its tendons are located along the medial proximal aspect of the tibia
    • risk factors
      • female sex
      • diabetes
      • obesity
      • valgus knee deformity
  • Etiology
    • tight hamstrings
    • acute trauma or athletic overuse
    • degenerative processes
  • Pathogenesis
    • extra stress or friction can cause irritation and inflammation of the bursa, the associated tendons, or the pannus (especially in obese individuals)
      • currently, it is unclear which structure surrounding the pes anserine bursa is responsible for the symptoms
    • trauma can also cause inflammation in the area
  • Associated conditions
    • Osgood-Schlatter syndrome
    • osteoarthritis
  • Prognosis
    • self-limited and responds well to exercises and stretches
    • time to resolution varies from weeks to years
  • Symptoms  
    • mild or moderate knee pain when
      • arising from a seated position
      • climbing stairs
    • pain is worse at night
  • Physical exam 
    • tenderness and swelling of the proximal medial tibia 6-7 cm below the anteromedial joint line of the knee
    • may have palpable crepitus
    • shortened hamstring to popliteal angle
  • Radiography
    • indication
      • only indicated to rule out proximal tibial stress fracture if there is any clinical suspicion
    • recommend views
      • anteroposterior and lateral
    • findings
      • typically normal
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
    • indication
      • only indicated if diagnosis and radiograph is unclear
    • findings
      • increased signal intensity
      • fluid accumulation around the bursa
  • Diagnostic injection with lidocaine or lidocaine-corticosteroids
    • alleviation of pain with injection suggests the diagnosis of pes anserine bursitis
  • Making the diagnosis
    • most cases are clinically diagnosed
  • Tibial stress fracture
    • distinguishing factor
      • very severe pain over proximal tibia
  • Medial meniscus injury
    • distinguishing factors
      • often presents with knee locking or catching
      • positive McMurray test
  • Conservative
    • rest and physical therapy
      • indication
        • for all patients
      • modalities
        • stretching of pes anserine tendons
  • Medical
    • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
      • indication
        • pain management
    • intrabursal injection with lidocaine and/or corticosteroids
      • indication
        • second-line pain management
  • Persistent pain

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Questions (3)
Lab Values
Blood, Plasma, Serum Reference Range
ALT 8-20 U/L
Amylase, serum 25-125 U/L
AST 8-20 U/L
Bilirubin, serum (adult) Total // Direct 0.1-1.0 mg/dL // 0.0-0.3 mg/dL
Calcium, serum (Ca2+) 8.4-10.2 mg/dL
Cholesterol, serum Rec: < 200 mg/dL
Cortisol, serum 0800 h: 5-23 μg/dL //1600 h:
3-15 μg/dL
2000 h: ≤ 50% of 0800 h
Creatine kinase, serum Male: 25-90 U/L
Female: 10-70 U/L
Creatinine, serum 0.6-1.2 mg/dL
Electrolytes, serum  
Sodium (Na+) 136-145 mEq/L
Chloride (Cl-) 95-105 mEq/L
Potassium (K+) 3.5-5.0 mEq/L
Bicarbonate (HCO3-) 22-28 mEq/L
Magnesium (Mg2+) 1.5-2.0 mEq/L
Estriol, total, serum (in pregnancy)  
24-28 wks // 32-36 wks 30-170 ng/mL // 60-280 ng/mL
28-32 wk // 36-40 wks 40-220 ng/mL // 80-350 ng/mL
Ferritin, serum Male: 15-200 ng/mL
Female: 12-150 ng/mL
Follicle-stimulating hormone, serum/plasma Male: 4-25 mIU/mL
Female: premenopause: 4-30 mIU/mL
midcycle peak: 10-90 mIU/mL
postmenopause: 40-250
pH 7.35-7.45
PCO2 33-45 mmHg
PO2 75-105 mmHg
Glucose, serum Fasting: 70-110 mg/dL
2-h postprandial:<120 mg/dL
Growth hormone - arginine stimulation Fasting: <5 ng/mL
Provocative stimuli: > 7ng/mL
Immunoglobulins, serum  
IgA 76-390 mg/dL
IgE 0-380 IU/mL
IgG 650-1500 mg/dL
IgM 40-345 mg/dL
Iron 50-170 μg/dL
Lactate dehydrogenase, serum 45-90 U/L
Luteinizing hormone, serum/plasma Male: 6-23 mIU/mL
Female: follicular phase: 5-30 mIU/mL
midcycle: 75-150 mIU/mL
postmenopause 30-200 mIU/mL
Osmolality, serum 275-295 mOsmol/kd H2O
Parathyroid hormone, serume, N-terminal 230-630 pg/mL
Phosphatase (alkaline), serum (p-NPP at 30° C) 20-70 U/L
Phosphorus (inorganic), serum 3.0-4.5 mg/dL
Prolactin, serum (hPRL) < 20 ng/mL
Proteins, serum  
Total (recumbent) 6.0-7.8 g/dL
Albumin 3.5-5.5 g/dL
Globulin 2.3-3.5 g/dL
Thyroid-stimulating hormone, serum or plasma .5-5.0 μU/mL
Thyroidal iodine (123I) uptake 8%-30% of administered dose/24h
Thyroxine (T4), serum 5-12 μg/dL
Triglycerides, serum 35-160 mg/dL
Triiodothyronine (T3), serum (RIA) 115-190 ng/dL
Triiodothyronine (T3) resin uptake 25%-35%
Urea nitrogen, serum 7-18 mg/dL
Uric acid, serum 3.0-8.2 mg/dL
Hematologic Reference Range
Bleeding time 2-7 minutes
Erythrocyte count Male: 4.3-5.9 million/mm3
Female: 3.5-5.5 million mm3
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (Westergren) Male: 0-15 mm/h
Female: 0-20 mm/h
Hematocrit Male: 41%-53%
Female: 36%-46%
Hemoglobin A1c ≤ 6 %
Hemoglobin, blood Male: 13.5-17.5 g/dL
Female: 12.0-16.0 g/dL
Hemoglobin, plasma 1-4 mg/dL
Leukocyte count and differential  
Leukocyte count 4,500-11,000/mm3
Segmented neutrophils 54%-62%
Bands 3%-5%
Eosinophils 1%-3%
Basophils 0%-0.75%
Lymphocytes 25%-33%
Monocytes 3%-7%
Mean corpuscular hemoglobin 25.4-34.6 pg/cell
Mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration 31%-36% Hb/cell
Mean corpuscular volume 80-100 μm3
Partial thromboplastin time (activated) 25-40 seconds
Platelet count 150,000-400,000/mm3
Prothrombin time 11-15 seconds
Reticulocyte count 0.5%-1.5% of red cells
Thrombin time < 2 seconds deviation from control
Plasma Male: 25-43 mL/kg
Female: 28-45 mL/kg
Red cell Male: 20-36 mL/kg
Female: 19-31 mL/kg
Cerebrospinal Fluid Reference Range
Cell count 0-5/mm3
Chloride 118-132 mEq/L
Gamma globulin 3%-12% total proteins
Glucose 40-70 mg/dL
Pressure 70-180 mm H2O
Proteins, total < 40 mg/dL
Sweat Reference Range
Chloride 0-35 mmol/L
Calcium 100-300 mg/24 h
Chloride Varies with intake
Creatinine clearance Male: 97-137 mL/min
Female: 88-128 mL/min
Estriol, total (in pregnancy)  
30 wks 6-18 mg/24 h
35 wks 9-28 mg/24 h
40 wks 13-42 mg/24 h
17-Hydroxycorticosteroids Male: 3.0-10.0 mg/24 h
Female: 2.0-8.0 mg/24 h
17-Ketosteroids, total Male: 8-20 mg/24 h
Female: 6-15 mg/24 h
Osmolality 50-1400 mOsmol/kg H2O
Oxalate 8-40 μg/mL
Potassium Varies with diet
Proteins, total < 150 mg/24 h
Sodium Varies with diet
Uric acid Varies with diet
Body Mass Index (BMI) Adult: 19-25 kg/m2

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(M2.OR.15.78) An obese 42-year-old female presents to her primary care physician with a complaint of left knee pain for the past 3 months. She describes the pain as affecting the inside part of the knee as well as the front of her knee, below the kneecap. She denies any inciting injury or trauma to the knee but reports that the pain is worse when she is climbing up stairs or rising from a chair. Physical examination is significant for localized tenderness to palpation over the left anteromedial proximal tibia, 6 cm inferior to the joint line. There is no joint effusion noted. Valgus stress testing is negative for any pain or instability of the knee joint. Radiographs of the left knee are obtained and reveal only mild arthritis, without evidence of any fractures or bony lesions. Which of the following is the most likely diagnosis in this patient? Review Topic | Tested Concept

QID: 106151

Stress fracture of proximal tibia




Medial meniscus tear




Medical collateral ligament (MCL) sprain




Pes anserine bursitis




Patellar tendonitis



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