Suprapatellar Bursitis Causes, Symptoms, Treatments

It is also called the housemaid knee or carpenter’s knee. As we know that our bursa is a fluid-filled sac that ensures that there is minimal friction between the body organs. The prepatellar bursa is located slightly between the skin and the patella. Inflammation of the bursa is called bursitis. This inflammation can take the form of an infectious disease (30%) or an uninfected environment (70%). So, A direct fall to the patella, severe trauma, repetitive strain, or knee fracture may cause Suprapatellar bursitis.

However, Other causes include low-grade diseases or conditions, such as gout, syphilis, tuberculosis, or arthritis. It often occurs in certain occupations that include a position where they work long distances such as miners, farmers, carpet layers, and mechanics.

What causes this condition?

Firstly, you should know that the symptoms of suprapatellar bursitis depend on the type of 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.

Common causes include:

Tumors or cysts:

Tumors or cysts put pressure on the spinal cord or any part of the legs and feet. This pressure can restrict blood flow to the legs and feet, causing numbness. Which as a result causes Dead leg syndrome.


Fibromyalgia is a long-lasting condition that causes body pain. However, People with fibromyalgia also experience numbness and tingling in the legs or feet.

Almost everyone with fibromyalgia has symptoms in more than one part of their body for at least 3 months at a time. However, If numbness in the legs and feet is not accompanied by any other symptoms or is not long-term, it is unlikely to be caused by fibromyalgia.

Multiple sclerosis:

People with multiple sclerosis have sensory nerve damage that can cause numbness in the legs or in whole limbs. Although numbness associated with MS often only lasts for a short period, it can last long enough to become disabling.

Stokes and mini-strokes:

Strokes or mini-strokes can cause brain damage that may affect how the mind interprets and processes nerve signals. However, a stroke or mini-stroke can sometimes cause temporary or long-term numbness in the legs.

Who do you think suprapatellar bursitis affects 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 is 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.

How do we Diagnose 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.

What is the most commonly recommended treatment?

The most commonly recommended treatment for suprapatellar bursitis or dead legs is physiotherapy.

How does a Dead Leg happen?

A dead leg is caused by a direct blow to the thigh. This can occur by being struck by an object. The blow crushes the quadriceps muscle against the underlying bone. This damages the quadriceps’ muscle fibers and blood vessels, causing bleeding and swelling.

Physiotherapy treatment:

Physiotherapy is important in the treatment of dead legs. Because through this, you can determine the exact tissues damaged. The main aim is to reduce pain and swelling and enhance the healing of the injured structures. 

Also, Your physiotherapist will be able to use various treatment methods to reduce pain, promote healing and get you back to normal life and sport.

Treatment might include the following:


Electrotherapy is the application of an electric current to the affected area of the body to accelerate healing and reduce swelling and pain. It is used to treat a variety of conditions.

Soft Tissue Treatment:

Soft tissue treatment involves assessing and treating any soft tissue injury that is causing pain and abnormal function. It includes ligaments, tendons, muscles, and fascia. 

However, physiotherapists use a number of soft tissue treatments depending on your symptoms.


Hydrotherapy involves carrying out exercises and specific physiotherapy techniques in warm water to help relieve pain, relax and strengthen muscles, increase circulation, and improve function. 

However, It also allows adults and children who have limited mobility to maximize their mobility within the water.

Supportive strapping and taping:

Physiotherapists use taping or strapping for injury prevention or rehabilitation. The benefits of taping will depend on your injury. Some of the following benefits are:

  • Injury prevention.
  • Encourage normal movement.
  • Quicker return to sport or work.

Strengthening exercises:

Strengthening exercises increase the strength of specific groups of muscles because weak muscles can increase the risk of injury to the surrounding joints and soft tissues.

However, there are many different benefits of strengthening exercises. Some of them are:

  • Muscle strength improvement.
  • Reduced risk of injury.
  • Improve function.

Cold therapy:

It involves the use of ice or a cryo cuff to cool down a damaged area of soft tissue following an injury. It is very effective when used in conjunction with the R.I.C.E. principle, which stands for Rest, Injury, Compression, Elevation. 

The main benefit of cold therapy is that it lowers the metabolic rate at the sight of the injury. This helps the tissue to survive during the period following injury. 

Balance Exercises:

Balance exercises are prescribed to improve your balance. It challenges the body’s vestibular system and the musculoskeletal system. 

However, there are many benefits of balance exercises which are:

  • Improved static balance.
  • Increasing the body’s ability to react to balance challenging situations.

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