Prepatellar Bursitis

What is Prepatellar Bursitis?

Prepatellar bursitis, also known as “housemaid’s knee,” is a condition that involves inflammation of the bursa located in front of the kneecap. Bursae are small sacs filled with fluid that cushion and lubricate the joints, tendons, and muscles. When the prepatellar bursa becomes inflamed, it can cause pain, swelling, and limited mobility in the knee.

Common Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms of prepatellar bursitis are similar to other knee injuries and can range from mild to severe. The most common signs and symptoms of prepatellar bursitis include – 

  1. Pain in the knee that is aggravated by bending or kneeling.
  2. Swelling and tenderness in the front of the knee.
  3. Limited range of motion in the knee.
  4. Warmth and redness around the knee joint.

How Can it be Treated?

The treatment for prepatellar bursitis depends on the severity of the condition. In mild cases, rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) or the PEACE and LOVE protocol can help reduce swelling and pain. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, can also help reduce inflammation and pain.

For more severe cases, a doctor may recommend – 

  1. Aspiration – The removal of excess fluid from the bursa with a needle.
  2. Antibiotics – If the bursitis is caused by an infection.
  3. Physiotherapy – To help strengthen the knee and improve range of motion.
  4. Surgery – In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the bursa.

Preventing Prepatellar Bursitis

Preventing prepatellar bursitis involves avoiding repetitive stress on the knee joint. This can be achieved by –

  1. Wearing protective knee pads during activities that involve kneeling or crawling.
  2. Maintaining a healthy weight to reduce stress on the knee joint.
  3. Strengthening the muscles around the knee joint through regular exercise.
  4. Using proper technique when performing physical activities to avoid unnecessary strain on the knee joint.

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Scientific References

  1. Kijowski, R., & De Smet, A. A. (2012). Prepatellar bursitis: prevalence, incidence, and predisposing factors in the US Radiologic Society Study Group. Radiology, 265(2), 497-501.
  2. Khan, M., & Jazrawi, L. (2015). Prepatellar bursitis. StatPearls [Internet].
  3. Rupp, S., Seil, R., & Kohn, D. (2001). Bursitis in athletes. Current opinion in rheumatology, 13(2), 138-142.
    Stanford Health Care. (2021). Prepatellar Bursitis. Retrieved from