Burning knee pain

Prepatellar bursitis

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Prepatellar bursitis is triggered by inflammation of the bursa in front of the kneecap. It typically occurs among individuals who spend extended time on kneeling. Remember that the bursa in between the skin and patella is likely to become inflamed.

What are the causes of prepatellar bursitis?

  • Abrupt injury to the knee – this can occur from a fall or sustaining a direct blow to the knee
  • Recurrent minor injury to the knee – this typically occurs after spending time kneeling which places pressure on the patella
  • Infection – the fluid in the prepatellar bursa can become infected and trigger inflammation inside the bursa. This is likely to occur after a scratch, cut or injury to the skin on the knee surface.
    Prepatellar bursitis
    It is important to note that prepatellar bursitis triggers pain and swelling on the affected knee.
  • Gout – having this condition puts the individual at higher risk for developing prepatellar bursitis.
  • Inflammatory disease – if there is an underlying inflammatory condition such as rheumatoid arthritis, it increases the risk

Who are at risk?

Any age group can develop prepatellar bursitis. Generally, it is more common among men than females. If it develops in children, it is likely due to an infection. Remember that infection is a usual cause among those who have weakened immune systems such as those under steroid treatment or chemotherapy for cancer.

What are the indications of prepatellar bursitis?

It is important to note that prepatellar bursitis triggers pain and swelling on the affected knee. There is also redness of the skin over the knee and it is tender.

The individual has difficulty bending the knee as well as with walking and kneeling. If due to an infection, fever might be present as well.


If infection is the cause for prepatellar bursitis, the doctor might draw out fluid from the knee to be analyzed. While waiting for the results, antibiotics are prescribed. In most cases, these are taken orally. In severe cases, the doctor might recommend hospitalization so that intravenous antibiotics can be started.

In case the symptoms do not improve despite 36-48 hours of antibiotics, the doctor might suggest the creation of a small incision on the front of the knee to allow the infected fluid to drain out of the bursa.


Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen can be used for mild to moderate pain from prepatellar bursitis as well as alleviate the inflammation.

If the condition becomes troublesome, the doctor might suggest drawing out fluid from the bursa. A steroid medication is injected into the bursa to counteract the inflammation.

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