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Prepatellar Bursitis (Kneecap Bursitis)

Overview

This condition is an inflammation of the prepatellar bursa, a fluid-filled sac that covers the front of the kneecap. Prepatellar bursitis results in pain and swelling at the front of the knee.

Causes

This condition is commonly caused by repetitive or prolonged strain on the prepatellar bursa. Roofers, plumbers, carpet layers and other people who spend long periods of time on their knees are at an increased risk for this condition. Prepatellar bursitis can also be caused by direct trauma to the front of the knee. It can result from infection, or from medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and gout.

Symptoms

Symptoms include pain and a large, swollen bump on the front of the kneecap. If the bursa is infected, the skin of the knee may become tender and warm to the touch. The person may experience fever and chills.

Treatment

Treatment options for prepatellar bursitis include rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medications. The person should avoid kneeling if possible. If the person cannot avoid kneeling, knee pads should be worn. A physician may drain fluid from a swollen bursa to help the knee heal. Bursitis that is caused by an infection may be treated with antibiotics. If these methods are not successful, surgery may be required.

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