Prepatellar bursitis

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Prepatellar bursitis or housemaid’s knee is likely to occur among wrestlers from rubbing their knees on the mats. The prepatellar bursa is positioned in front of the kneecap close to the attachment point of the kneecap tendon.

Bursitis is defined by irritation or inflammation of a bursa in the knee. The bursa is a sac filled with fluid that borders the tendons or joints. It helps lessen the friction by providing cushion to the muscles, tendons and bones that move back and forth across each other.

What are the causes?

Prepatellar bursitis can develop from:

  • Overuse
  • Chronic friction such as frequently kneeling
  • Direct strike to the knee
    Prepatellar bursitis
    Prepatellar bursitis can trigger knee pain and swelling over the front region.


Prepatellar bursitis can trigger knee pain and swelling over the front region. The individual experiences pain while bending or straightening the leg.

Management of prepatellar bursitis

If an individual has prepatellar bursitis, the treatment involves:

  • Allowing the affected knee joint to rest. Elevate the knee on a cushion while sitting or lying down.
  • Do not place any pressure on the swollen and sore site until the swelling settles.
  • Apply an ice pack on the site every 3-4 hours for up to 20 minutes until the discomfort subsides.
  • Use a knee sleeve or elastic bandage around the knee to lessen or prevent any swelling.
  • An anti-inflammatory medication can be used but carefully follow the dosage instructions.
  • A steroid shot might be administered into the sore bursa.

The period of recovery is based on various factors such as overall health, age and if there are any previous injuries.

The pain caused by prepatellar bursitis often settles within a few weeks but there is also painless swelling that lasts for several months.

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