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What Is Prepatellar Bursitis?

What Is Prepatellar Bursitis?


Prepatellar bursitis is a swelling of the bursa directly in front of the kneecap.

More Info: Prepatellar bursitis is a very common condition. Bursitis can develop at any joint of the human body. For each different joint, there is a differing form, but they are all essentially the same. Bursitis is inflammation of the bursa sac that protects the joint and helps provide smooth motion of tendons, muscle, and skin around the actual bone and cartilage. Prepatellar bursitis occurs in the knee area.

Symptoms of Prepatellar Bursitis

The most obvious symptom of prepatellar bursitis is swelling of the knee. This common condition is often called “housemaid’s knee”, but it affects many workers in various construction operations. Welders, concrete finishers, and flooring installation techs all experience prepatellar bursitis at some time in their career. Very often, it goes untreated because the severity can vary greatly.

Severity of Prepatellar Bursitis

Prepatellar bursitis can develop over long periods, but can also occur in accidental damage to the entire knee area. When developing gradually and left untreated, the inflammation can become infected just like an injury. It could also be a symptom of a more serious problem. Fluid buildup in the bursa is not the same thing as “fluid on the knee”. Other specific parts of the knee can be more seriously damaged and exhibit the same discomfort. Prepatellar bursitis commonly occurs in association with these more acute conditions, such as athletic injuries.

Treatment of Prepatellar Bursitis

Prepatellar bursitis can often be treated with rest. It really depends on the severity. When it develops over time as a result of physical overwork, it can become chronic. The swelling is essentially a fluid buildup in the bursa sac that is creating the discomfort. If bursitis is the only condition, the fluid can be drained in a relatively simple outpatient procedure with minimal recovery time. If it is chronic, the draining process may need to be repeated occasionally. It is always important to diagnose the area around the bursa when an infection is detected. Very often, there is some infection involved if the discomfort is significant.




“What Is Prepatellar Bursitis?.” Sophisticated Edge. N.p., n.d. Web. June 17, 2011

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Quote:   “Mortality associated with prepatellar bursitis is rare. Morbidity usually is secondary to pain and limited function. In the case of septic prepatellar bursitis, failure to diagnose in a timely manner may lead to increased morbidity secondary to infectious etiology.”

Source:   Kelly L Allen, MD, Medical Director, Medevals

Quote:   “The best way to avoid inflammation of the bursa is to steer clear of any action that causes repeated friction between the skin and patella. In some occupations, such as carpet-fitting, this may not be possible, although it’s not unheard of for people to change profession because of recurring knee problems.”

Source:   Dr. Rob Hicks, BBC Health

“Prepatellar (Kneecap ) Bursitis – Your Orthopaedic Connection – AAOS.” AAOS – Your Orthopaedic Connection. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2010.

“University Sports Medicine – WHAT IS PREPATELLAR (KNEE) BURSITIS?.” University Sports Medicine. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2010.

Alan MD, Kelly L. “Prepatellar Bursitis.” eMedicine. WebMD, n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2010.


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