Bursae are small sac-like objects that are located in the joints. They are filled with fluid and act as cushions to aid in the smooth articulation between ligaments, bones, and tendons. Essentially, their function is to minimize friction among these tissues. In the event of bursitis, “itis” meaning inflammation, the bursa becomes inflamed as a result of repeated use or a well-placed blow.
What Is Infrapatellar Bursitis?
One of the most common sites for bursitis is across the patellar ligaments, the ligaments that join the patella or kneecap to the articulating leg bones of the tibia and femur. Infrapatellar bursitis occurs when the either the deep infrapatellar bursa, located between the patellar ligament and the bone, or the superficial infrapatellar bursa, located between the patellar ligament and the skin, become inflamed.
Symptoms and Treatment
Infrapatellar bursitis, causes uncomfortable pain in the knee area accompanied by moderate to severe swelling. Treatment includes staying off your knee and using ice and compression to reduce the swelling. Rest and cold therapy will very often remedy the bursitis, but in the event of severe swelling and pain, cortisone injections can be applied to remove unwanted fluid buildup.
Quote: “Superficial infrapatellar bursitis (clergyman knee) is located more distally than prepatellar bursitis and is often caused by frequent kneeling in an upright position. It can also be seen in gout or syphilis. The differential diagnosis includes Osgood-Schlatter disease. The deep infrapatellar bursa is less frequently inflamed.”
Source: Eileen Chang, MD, Attending, Department of Emergency Medicine, North Shore Medical Center
Quote: “Priests, carpenters who lay flooring and other workers who kneel over the region of the tubercle may experience similar trauma resulting in infrapatellar bursitis Superficial infrapatellar bursitis causes diffuse swelling over the tibial tubercle and lower portion of the patellar ligament.”
Source: Joseph LaDou, MS, M.D. Clinical Professor, Division of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, University of California, San Francisco
Current Occupational and Environmental Medicine McGraw Hill
“Infrapatellar Bursitis – Clergymans knee.” The Virtual Sports Injury Clinic – Sports Injuries, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2010. http://www.sportsinjuryclinic.net/cybertherapist/front/knee/infrapatellar_bursitis.php.
Chang, MD, Eileen . “Bursitis.” eMedicine. WebMD, 13 Jan. 2010. Web. 21 Oct. 2010. <emedicine.medscape.com/article/822693-overview>.