Pes Anserine Bursitis

By Greg Heeter ATC

 Pes Anserine Bursitis Overview

Pes Anserine Bursitis can be treated by an orthopedic specialist.

Image of the human knee and bursitis.

What is Pes Anserine Bursitis? 

What is Bursitis for that matter? Bursitis is a common inflammation of a bursa sac.  Bursae are small fluid-filled sacs located between soft tissue or tendons and bone. The sac’s main purpose is to provide cushioning for tendon attachment sites or boney prominences.  One of the most common places for irritation (or Bursitis) is at the Pes Anserine.  The Pes Anserine is aptly named due to the structures specific alignment and attachment site.  This term is referred to as Goose Foot because of their presentation.  Three tendons come together and join at the anteromedial (front and inside) portion of the tibia, or just below and inside portion of the knee.  Those three tendons are the Sartorious, Gracilis, and Semitendinosis (part of the hamstrings).

As we age, the ability for our tendons to take on shear and stress decreases.  This may cause irritation at the bursa sac, or Bursitis.  Another cause of Bursitis would be a direct blow or impact.  Pes Anserine is more related to indirect stress of either or all of the tendons located at the site.  This could be from excessive use of the hamstrings, sartorious or gracilis.  There could even be an increase in stiffness of the muscles or lack of soft-tissue mobility. For athletes, this is primarily an overuse injury, which presents with pain, tenderness, and may even feel/observe mild-moderate swelling specifically located over the Pes Anserine.


We typically treat Pes Anserine Bursitis with NSAIDs, ice, stretching, and modalities such as laser therapy or ultrasound.  Anything to avoid increased stress to the involved tendons would help alleviate pain as well. NSAIDs are specifically used to decrease the inflammation as well are modalities and ice.  Stretching or elongating the stiff soft-tissue will decrease the the amount of irritation over the bursa sac itself.  A trained Physical Therapist or Certified Athletic Trainer May even look for any alignment or muscular imbalances that may cause more stress to this portion of the knee and address those issues.  Some of  which may include running analysis and hip, knee, foot/ankle mobility.

By: Greg Heeter, MA, ATC, LAT

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