Housemaids Knee







A bursa is a small fluid filled sac designed to help soft tissue (skin, tendons, muscle and ligaments) slide easily over the underlying bone. They arise at various joints throughout the body, such as the shoulder, elbow and knee. Prepatellar bursitis is the inflammation of the pre-patellar bursa, which lies in front of the patella or kneecap. Under normal conditions its function is to reduce the friction between the patellar tendon and overlying skin when bending the knee. Plumbers, carpet layers, and other people who spend a lot of time on their knees often experience swelling in the front of the knee. The constant friction irritates a small lubricating sac (bursa) located just in front of the kneecap (patella).It can either be an acute (sudden onset) injury or chronic (longer term) injury.


Acute prepatellar bursitis can be caused by a direct blow or fall on the knee. This ruptures blood vessels which bleed into the bursa causing swelling and triggering an inflammation reaction in the walls of the bursa. Subsequently, the walls may then thicken, causing tenderness that may remain even after the swelling has reduced. Acute bursitis can also be triggered by an infection as a result of a surface injury, such as a skin wound over the kneecap. In this case, bacteria may spread into the fluid within the pre-patellar bursa causing infection. Chronic bursitis is a longer term problem which may recur over a period of time. Repeated damage to the knee for example from kneeling or work that involves alot of pressure on the kneecap thickens the walls of the bursa causing irritation.

Who are at risk?

· People who constantly kneel to work, such as plumbers, roofers, carpet layers, coal miners, or gardeners

  • ·Athletes who participate in sports in which direct blows or falls on the knee are common, such as football, wrestling, or basketball
  • ·Someone who has been in a motor vehicle collision
  • ·People with rheumatoid arthritis or gout.




  • ·Pain and tenderness on the kneecap and just below it
  • ·Kneecap may be swollen and warm to the touch.
  • ·Painful knee movements
  • Difficulty kneeling. Relieved on sitting
  • ·An abscess or fluid filled lump may be visible over the patella.
  • For chronic Prepatellar bursitis there may be a tender lump floating underneath the skin on the kneecap.

TREATMENT:- Acute prepatellar bursitis is usually treated conservatively by the following methods:

RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) technique

Heat treatment

Chronic prepatellar bursitis can be treated by: Avoiding aggravating movements such as kneeling If these cannot be avoided then knee pads or padded knee supports should be worn. If the swelling persists then a medical professional may aspirate (suck off) some of the fluidIn cases where the bursa has become infected, anti-biotics may be prescribed In more serious cases the bursa may be completely removed by surgical procedures



You can help prevent bursitis by following these simple recommendations:-

Wear kneepads if you work on your knees or participate in contact sports such as football, basketball, or wrestling.

-Rest your knees regularly by stopping to stretch your legs. You may also consider switching activities on a regular basis to avoid prolonged stress on your knees.

-Apply ice and elevate your knees after a workout.


Pain relief with electrotherapy

Reduce swelling

Reduce stiffness

Flexibility training

Strengthening of muscles

Regain full range of motionSports specific training