Knee bursitis is an irritation or inflammation of the bursa near the knee joint. A bursa is a small sac that resembles a cushion filled with fluid. It is located between the bones and tendons and muscles near the joints. It decreases rubbing, irritation, friction and cushions pressure points.

Each knee has 11 bursae any of which can be inflamed. Usually, it occurs over the kneecap or the inner side of the knee below the joint.

The bursa can become inflamed from trauma i.e. direct blow to the front of the knee. This commonly occurs to the prepatellar bursa i.e. the bursa over the kneecap bone, at the tip of the knee when a person has been in a kneeling position for longer period of time. Based on patient’s working experiences, the condition has been referred as: “housemaid’s knee,” “roofer’s knee,” and “carpet layer’s knee.”

Knee bursitis is painful and limits the mobility.

It is more common among people that are over 40 years old.

The treatment for knee bursitis is normally a combination of medical treatments and self-care measures. This combination tends to diminish the pain and the inflammation, as well as lessen the condition.



The symptoms of knee bursitis differ depending on which bursa is affected and what is causing the inflammation.

Generally, the part being affected should feel warm, tender and may be swollen. The skin in the part can become red. It may be also painful when moving, or even when resting.

One harsh knockback of the knee can cause rapid appearance of symptoms. However, in most of the cases, repetitive injuries cause knee bursitis and symptoms appear gradually and can become worse with time.

If fever and swelling show as symptoms alongside the pain, it is recommendable to visit the doctor, as the kneecap sometimes can become infected.



A cause for knee bursitis to occur can be:

  • Persistent and recurrent pressure to the knee (for instance: from kneeling)
  • Direct and strong knock to the knee
  • Bacterial infection of the bursa
  • Complications such as form osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or gout


Risk factors

Some of the factors that can increase the risk of dealing with the painful knee bursitis disorder can be:

  • Kneeling for a long period of time (workers such as: gardeners and plumbers)
  • Doing certain sports (football, volleyball, wrestling and running)
  • Overweight and osteoarthritis (usually among women)



The treatment depends on the part being affected. The doctor may recommend one or more approaches. Some of the recommended treatment approaches may include:

  • Medications-antibiotic treatment if the knee bursitis is caused by an infection
  • Therapy-appropriate exercises that will improve the flexibility and muscle strength thought by a physical therapist or a sports medicine specialist
  • Surgery
  • Corticosteroid injection
  • Aspiration



Some tips for avoiding knee bursitis or preventing it from recurring are:

  • Wear kneepads when working on the knees or doing sports
  • Take regular breaks when kneeling (stretch the legs and rest the knees)
  • Avoid too much squatting  (repetitious bending is bad for the knees because the force on the knee joint is increased when squatting)