Suprapatellar Bursitis Causes Symptoms and Treatments

It is a common and treatable condition that causes the front of your knee to swell. It happens when the bursa sac in front of your knee cap becomes inflamed. Suprapatellar bursitis is historically called “housemaid’s knee,” although it is also known as “coal miner’s knee” and “carpet layer’s knee” However, Most cases of prepatellar bursitis can be treated from home with rest.

What is a bursa?

As you know, a normal adult has more than 150 bursae in his/her body. It’s a small, fluid-filled sac that encloses the area where your bone would radiate to a muscle, tendon or skin. So, by scraping these areas, the bursae help prevent friction and inflammation.

However, If your bursa bag is frequently irritated, damaged or infected, its thin membrane hardens and forms more fluid. Excess fluid collects in your bursa bag and causes it to swell called bursitis. Bursitis usually occurs in the bursae around the joints. Prepatellar bursitis is the second most common type of bursitis.

Types of prepatellar bursitis:

It has two types:

  • Acute prepatellar bursitis: it happens when there’s sudden damage to your bursa in front of your kneecap. This usually happens from trauma or an infection. 
  • Chronic bursitis: it happens from repeated overuse or pressure to your knee, such as frequent kneeling or exercising.

List some common Symptoms of suprapatellar bursitis?

Firstly, you should know that the symptoms of suprapatellar bursitis depend on the type of the bursitis. For example, how severe is bursitis? There are three most common signs, but you don’t have to have all three signs to have prepatellar bursitis. The three signs include:

  1. Swelling at the front of your knee: Nearly all cases of prepatellar bursitis involve swelling at the front of your knee. Also, You’ll be able to “see” and feel your swollen bursa sac through your skin. It usually feels “squishy” when you press on it.
  2. Range of motion limits in your knee: Mild and moderate cases of prepatellar bursitis usually don’t limit your ability to bend and stretch your knee. If you have a severe case of prepatellar bursitis, you may not be able to move your knee like you usually do.
  3. Pain: Some people don’t experience pain with prepatellar bursitis. Others may feel achiness or tenderness in their affected knee even while resting. Sometimes, people with prepatellar bursitis experience no pain while resting but feel pain or tenderness in their affected knee when they kneel or bend it.

Who do you think suprapatellar bursitis affect the most?

Well anyone of us can have this condition. However, it mostly affects men who are aged between 40 to 60. Note that Chronic prepatellar bursitis often affects people who have activities or hobbies that include regular kneeling, such as carpentry, cleaning, plumbing, and gardening. Children are at risk of developing septic prepatellar bursitis (prepatellar bursa infection).

How common is suprapatellar bursitis?

Prepatellar bursitis is fairly common. There isn’t an exact number of cases per year because many people have mild prepatellar bursitis and don’t need to seek treatment from a healthcare professional. Prepatellar bursitis is the second most common form of bursitis and is a common cause of knee swelling and inflammation.

Suprapatellar bursitis is a very common condition overall. But, There are no fixed number of cases per year because most people have acute prepatellar bursitis and don’t need a doctor. However, suprapatellar bursitis is the second most common form of bursitis and is a common cause of swelling and inflammation in the knee.

What are the Causes?

There are some causes that conclude to this condition, written as under:

  1. Bacterial infection: If you have a scratch, insect bite or cut on your knee that becomes infected, it can spread to your prepatellar bursa sac. It is known as bacterial suprapatellar bursitis. or infectious bursitis. However, it’s a serious condition that needs immediate medical treatment.

However, If you have prepatellar bursitis that is caused by an infection, you’ll likely have additional symptoms, including:

  • Reddish or pinkish skin where your knee is swollen.
  • Warmer skin where your knee is swollen.
  • Fever.
  • Experiencing achiness and chills.

However, If you’re experiencing these symptoms of infection, you should visit your doctor as soon as possible or go to the nearest hospital. Because, Infected prepatellar bursitis needs medical treatment. If left untreated, it can cause serious and life-threatening complications.

  1. Meniscal cyst: They are often seen with meniscal tears that occur due to degenerative changes within the meniscus. This can also occur after injury or because of degeneration of the meniscus.

A lump on the side of the knee – either inside or outside- is most likely a meniscal cyst on the side of the knee. Which is a collection of thick fluid arising from a tear of the meniscal cartilage, which is the cushioning of the knee. Often, it forms in people with a past history of a knee injury, cartilage damage, or contact or twisting sports. all in all it’s also one of the most common causes of this condition.

  1. Rheumatoid arthritis or gout: Although it’s not as common, both rheumatoid arthritis and gout can cause prepatellar bursitis.
  2. Frequent kneeling: In majority cases a prepatellar bursitis is caused by pressure and irritation from kneeling.
  3. Injury: Trauma to your knee from falling or getting hit with something can cause prepatellar bursitis.

How do we Diagnose a suprapatellar bursitis?

If you are facing any symptoms of bursitis as we have mentioned above, we highly recommend you to visit a doctor which is near you. Therefore, your doctor may review your medical history and examine your knee as follows:

  • He will firstly examine or compare the positions of both your knees.
  • Then he will check the range of motion of the affected knee.
  • The doctor will feel the region around your affected knee to check for swelling, sensitivity, or warmth.
  • After that he may also check for infection in your bursa. Because of this, doctors will probably recommend imaging tests (MRI, X-ray, or ultrasound) to visualize the condition of your knees accurately.
  • In addition, your coordinator may ask for a blood test to confirm or rule out conditions that may affect your knee.

However, Most cases of suprapatellar bursitis will resolve in a few weeks with standard treatment. This can include things like rest, OTC pain medication, and crust. Talk to your doctor about any new knee pain you have. Early diagnosis leads to earlier treatment and better outcomes, so you can return to your normal routine sooner.

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