Prepatellar bursitis is an inflammatory process at the anterior part of the knee, ie. an inflammation of the prepatellar bursa (bursa prepatellaris), a soft, filled with liquid bag situated near patella with the purpose of reducing friction of the patella while it moves along the femur surface. Prepatellar bursa is the most commonly injured/damaged bursa on the human body.
Bursa inflammation or bursitis can be of either non-infective or infective nature and it is very common with certain professions which include longlasting position of crouching, kneeling or sitting with your knees bent under you, eg. with carpenters, cleaning ladies, etc. Constant friction of the patella and skin, blows or pressure to the anterior knee region can cause prepatellar bursitis. This state can be of an acute nature or take on a chronic shape if it is not properly and timely treated and addressed.
The most common symptoms include localized, anterior knee pain and sweeling, which can occure up to an hour after the knee was hit or excesively pressured and that swelling and pain can increase during a couple of weeks if there is constatnt friction present in structures of that region. Pain is experienced with movement and sometimes even during night while resting and it is characterized by a dull feeling that sometimes gets very intense, sharp and piercing. Knee joint range of motion is not affected, only in extreme, chronic cases, but the knee can fell sensitive and painfull during bending or stretching.
Prepatellar bursitis is commonly treated conservatively, by use of pain and swelling reducing therapy, reduction of activities or positions that cause pain and put friction and pressure on the affected region. In the acute therapy phase RICE method (rest, ice, compression, elevation) is used and later on in the functional phase, upper leg musculature needs to be strenghtened and knee stabilization insured. Surgical approach is advised only in difficult, chronic cases of prepatellar bursitis when earlier application of a conservative approach has been found ineffective.
Prevention: use of specialized knee pads if the profession implies longlasting periods of kneeling, crouching or sitting with your knees bent under you, changing your position more often during the day in order to relieve some of the pressure and friction, prevention programs for upper leg strenghtening, proper and timely treatment of acute or degenerative knee injuries or damage and knee region pain syndromes, etc
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