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Pre-Patellar Bursitis

By November 1, 2018September 8th, 2023Physiotherapy, Running, Sports Physiotherapy

What is Pre-patellar Bursitis?

Bursae are small, jelly-like sacs that are located throughout the body.  They exist around the body at most joints, such as the shoulder, knee, elbow and heel.  They contain small amounts of fluid and act as a cushion/lubricant between joint surfaces, between bones and tendons/muscles as to reduce friction and allow freedom of movement.

Pre-patellar bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa in the front of the kneecap (patella).  This condition causes significant pain, swelling and discomfort and disability for the individual involved.  This is unfortunately a relatively common and easily irritated issue, lucky it can be addressed in a simple manor.  The condition has several colloquial terms for the condition such as housemaid’s knee and plumber’s knee, due to these jobs having a high risk for the condition.


There are several causes of this Pre-patellar bursitis, whether it is constant pressure through kneeling onto the knee, those in occupations where sustained kneeling is required such as plumbers, roofers, gardeners have a higher risk of developing this pre-patellar bursitis.

Otherwise a direct blow to the anterior knee can be another cause, sports such as touch football, basketball and volleyball which require athletes to jump and often land onto the knee are a high risk for this condition.


  • Swelling over, above or below the kneecap.
  • Limited motion of the knee.
  • Redness and warmth at the site of the bursa.
  • Painful movement of the knee.


Swelling management is the initial mainstay of treatment, The RICE Method is commonly used and is often effective in the initial management to reduce aggravation.  The aim of this stage of management is to reduce activities that may cause aggravation of symptoms.  The use of ice can be helpful to reduce pain and assist with swelling, it is important to be diligent and use icing for a maximum of 20 minutes with an hour break between icing, as a pain relief modality.

At Bend and Mend the use of taping techniques to offload the knee may also provide you with a reduction in pain levels and assist with getting you back to pain free living as soon as possible.

Once swelling and inflammation has reduced, the goal is to restore pain free knee joint range of motion, normalise gait pattern, strengthen your lower limbs and address the cause of the condition as to reduce the risk of re-aggravation.

Activity modification and Prevention:

Following the acute phase of treatment, the team at Bend and Mend will guide you through a safe and effective exercise program to reduce the risk of re-aggravation.  This initially will involve modifying your exercise program, reducing aggravating activities such as running, deep squatting and plyometric exercise.  In time when strength and range of motion is restored, the team at Bend and Mend will guide you back into these exercises in a safe and time efficient manner.  Some options of preventative measure that can be taken are the wearing of knee pads, if you are someone who works on your knees, or participates in sports with a high risk of knee contact.

If you are experiencing Knee discomfort, and/or swelling and need expert advice on your management to get you back to pain free living as soon as possible, then book yourself in for an expert assessment and rehabilitation plan at Bend + Mend in Sydney’s CBD.

Bend + Mend

Bend + Mend has been providing Sydney’s CBD with Physiotherapy and Pilates services since 2003. We have 4 great locations in Martin Place, Barangaroo, Darling Park and Circular Quay, all with private rooms and specialised one-on-one care. We also have Sydney CBD’s best-loved Physios who have helped over 10,000 people recover from pain and injury.

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