Prepatellar Bursitis

Prepatellar bursitis is a common condition that causes pain and swelling at the front of the knee. This occurs when fluid-filled sacs that cover the knee (bursa) become inflamed. Prepatellar bursitis is also known as “housemaid’s knee” or “carpet layer’s knee,” and happens with increasing frequency when the bursa sac receives repeated irritation from overuse.


Repetitive or prolonged strain on the knee is the primary cause of prepatellar bursitis. Workers who spend extended periods of time on their knees, such as roofers and carpet layers, are more likely to experience this condition. It can also be the result of a hard impact to the front of the knee, infections, or arthritis.


Symptoms of prepatellar bursitis vary depending on the severity of the injury. The most notable symptoms include swelling, pain, redness, and limited range of motion. A noticeable bump usually forms at the front of the knee. Fever and chills may also occur.


Prepatellar bursitis is usually diagnosed by a physical exam. Physicians will look for pain, tenderness, and limited range of motion. Symptoms and medical history will also be assessed. Imaging tests such as x-rays may be used to identify other knee injuries that could be causing symptoms.


Conservative treatment options such as rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medications are usually effective. Knee pads are recommended for those who work on their knees for extended periods. It may be necessary to drain fluid from the swollen bursa with a needle. Sometimes prepatellar bursitis can result in infection, which is treated with antibiotics. Surgery may be required if these methods are not effective.

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