Prepatellar (Kneecap) Bursitis

A bursa is a small fluid-filled sac found between soft tissues and bones. It lubricates and acts as a cushion to decrease friction between bones when they move. Bursitis refers to the inflammation and swelling of the bursa. Inflammation of the bursa in front of the kneecap (patella) is known as kneecap bursitis or prepatellar bursitis.

Kneecap bursitis is often caused due to pressure applied on the knees with constant kneeling, conditions such as gout and rheumatoid arthritis, a direct blow to the kneecap while playing sports such as basketball, football and wrestling, or due to infection.

Symptoms of kneecap bursitis include pain and swelling in front of the knee. You may experience tenderness, warmth and redness on the front of the knee.

Diagnosis is done by reviewing your medical history and performing a thorough physical examination. Fluid from your bursa may be removed for lab analysis. Dr. Patel may order imaging studies, such as X-rays, to rule out other causes.

Kneecap bursitis can be effectively treated with conservative therapy, where Dr. Patel advises sufficient rest, use of ice packs and compression of the affected leg to reduce swelling. Anti-inflammatory drugs may also be prescribed to alleviate pain and swelling, and antibiotics for infections. The bursa typically does not need to be aspirated as long as strict compliance with conservative measures is followed. Surgery is performed only when conservative treatment is ineffective. The surgery involves the removal of bursa.