Prepatellar bursitis: Symptoms, causes and treatments

by | May 26, 2023 | Blog | 0 comments

Your kneecaps make it possible for you to do simple movements throughout your day, such as sitting down, standing up and even just walking from one place to another. So when your knee starts feeling stiff and painful, it can interfere with your ability to handle your everyday tasks. The cause might be due to inflammation. 

Prepatellar bursitis is a type of inflammation that affects your kneecap, also known as the patella. But what does it feel like? How do you develop it? Those are the questions we’re here to answer.

Read on to learn the ins and outs of prepatellar bursitis, including symptoms, potential causes and treatment options.

What is prepatellar bursitis?

Prepatellar bursitis, or kneecap bursitis, refers to the inflammation of a bursa in the kneecap. A bursa is a fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion for your joints. There are bursae located in a variety of body parts that contain joints, including four bursae in your kneecap. This type of bursitis affects the prepatellar bursa, which is located at the front of your knee, between the patella and the tissue underneath the skin.

It’s estimated that kneecap bursitis affects 10 out of every 100,000 people each year. It’s much more common for males than females, especially over the age of 40. In fact, 80% of bursitis patients are males between the ages of 40 and 60. 

Symptoms of this bursitis include:

  • Dull pain while walking that fades during rest.
  • Swollen kneecap.
  • Kneecap warm to the touch.
  • Reduced range of motion. 

The main three causes of kneecap bursitis are:

  • Consistent pressure on the kneecap from kneeling.
  • A traumatic blow to the knee, such as a sports injury.
  • Bacterial infections from a wound.

There are two types of this inflammation: acute and chronic. Acute prepatellar bursitis refers to inflammation from an injury or infection; chronic prepatellar bursitis stems from overuse or excessive friction on the kneecap.

Since the inflammation is often caused by excessive kneeling, it has informal nicknames related to jobs that involve a lot of kneeling, such as carpenter’s knee, housemaid’s knee and gardener’s knee.

Treatment options for prepatellar bursitis

A swollen and painful kneecap should be treated as soon as possible to alleviate the pain and restore complete mobility. There are a few different treatment options that can help decrease your symptoms. While some can be done from the comfort of your own home, others will require the assistance of a physical therapist.

If the bursitis is caused by an infection, you should treat the infection before treating the swelling and knee pain.

Four treatment options for kneecap bursitis include:

  • PEACE & LOVE — When it comes to knee pain, the PEACE & LOVE method should be used as soon as possible, which includes protection, elevation, avoiding anti-inflammatories, compression, education, load (increase your daily load as your pain allows), optimism, vascularization (get your body moving), and exercise. For kneecap bursitis, the elevation and compression are essential. They will help alleviate the inflammation and pain while avoiding excessive pressure on the bursa. You can use this method at home to help prevent the bursitis from worsening.

  • Medication — When it comes to easy and effective treatment options for prepatellar bursitis, medication is a common treatment option. Ask your doctor about taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as naproxen and ibuprofen. Your physical therapist may also recommend iontophoresis, which uses mild electrical currents to administer anti-inflammatory medicine to the knee.

  • Supportive aids — To decrease the movement of your kneecap and the pressure placed on the joints, there are a few different types of assistive support that a physical therapist may recommend, such as a knee brace, shoe inserts or taping of the patella. These can be used in tandem with other treatment options.

  • Exercises — A physical therapist can walk you through stretching and strengthening exercises to reduce your patellar pain and increase your mobility. The goal of the exercises is to help mobilize your knee joints and improve your muscle balance that may be affected by the inflammation. 

Forever Fit can help treat prepatellar bursitis

Having a swollen kneecap that causes painful movements and a reduced range of motion can impact your ability to complete your daily activities with comfort. From climbing stairs up to your workplace to crouching down to pick up clutter, prepatellar bursitis interferes with your day-to-day lifestyle. That’s why you should give us a call.

Not only can Forever Fit help alleviate your knee bursitis symptoms, but we can also work to improve your overall knee quality to reduce the risk of future injury.

Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.

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