Housemaid’s knee, also known as prepatellar bursitis, is caused by inflammation of the knee bursa.
The prepatellar bursa, a small fluid-filled sac, sits in front of the knee cap and provides cushioning and protection. If there is too much pressure on the bursa, it will produce more fluid to protect the knee and begin to swell.
Prepatellar bursitis is usually caused by repeated kneeling or sudden trauma to the front of the knee, such as a fall.
Housewives’ knee is the most common cause of anterior knee swelling and usually resolves within a few weeks with proper home treatment, rarely requiring surgery.
Here, we’ll look at the common causes, symptoms, treatment options and recovery process of Housemaid’s Knee.
What is Housemaids Knee?
Housemaids knee is the most common form of knee bursitis.
Anatomy Bursa 330 Opt 19 April
Bursae are small fluid-filled sacs found throughout the body. Their job is to prevent friction between bones and soft tissues (muscles, tendons, skin and ligaments) and they act like a cushion.
The prepatellar bursa sits in front of the kneecap, just under the skin. When the prepatellar bursa is irritated from friction or pressure, it produces excess fluid to protect the knee joint.
The bursa gradually becomes inflamed and swollen, painful and puts pressure on the surrounding structures.
This swelling is known as prepatellar bursitis, or more commonly Housemaid’s Knee, and is the most common cause of swelling above the knee.
Cause Housemaids Knees
The most common causes of housewives’ knees are:
Frequent knee flexion is a common cause of prepatellar bursitis, and these days, housekeeper’s knee is more likely to affect tradesmen or gardeners than housewives.
- Repetitive knee: which causes friction and stress on the bursa and knee. These days maids’ knees affect tradesmen and gardeners more than housekeepers, thanks Hoover!
- Sudden force: Prepatellar bursitis can also be caused by direct trauma or a fall to the front of the knee.
- Medical conditions: If you have an underlying inflammatory condition such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout, you are at a higher risk of developing knee bursitis.
Infection: Sometimes it is caused by a bacterial infection such as from an open wound
Symptoms of Prepatellar Bursitis
The most common symptoms of maid knee are:
Maids knee causes swelling of the front of the knee around the patella
- Swelling: A pocket of swelling on the front of the knee, somewhat like a squash orange or water balloon
- Knee pain: especially when moving the knee that makes it difficult to bend the leg, bend the knee, or walk
- Redness: The knee may appear slightly red and feel warm and tender to the touch.
Usually a doctor will be able to diagnose prepatellar bursitis just by looking at your foot – this does not require an X-ray or MRI.
If there is a possible cause of infection in maids knee, the doctor will remove some fluid and do a test, and then you may be given antibiotics.
Prepatellar bursitis treatment
Treatments for housewives’ knee usually include:
- PRICE: PRICE is a great treatment tool to help housewives reduce knee pain and swelling and help speed recovery. It means Protect, Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate. Visit the PRICE section to learn how to use it safely and effectively.
- Medication: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can also help reduce the swelling and pain associated with prepatellar bursitis. You should always check with your doctor before taking medication.
- Stretching: Prepatellar bursitis is often aggravated by tight leg muscles, so stretching these muscles relieves pressure on the bursa to stop it from producing excess fluid. To check if your muscles are tight and learn how to stretch them, visit the Housemaid’s Knee Stretches section.
- Avoiding provocative activities: A really important part of prepatellar bursitis treatment is avoiding activities that put pressure on the kneecap and prepatellar bursa, such as kneeling, and allowing time for the swelling to subside.
- Gel Knee Pads: If you have to kneel, wearing gel knee pads can make all the difference to a home worker’s knees. They relieve pressure on the bursa and are great for relieving pain and irritation when you have to kneel. Visit the Gel Knee Pads section to learn more.
- Ice: Ice is a great natural treatment tool to help reduce swelling and pain from prepatellar bursitis, but if used incorrectly, it can actually make things worse. Visit the ice section to find out how to use ice safely and effectively or the ice pack section for different ways to apply ice.
- Aspiration: If the swelling of the prepatellar bursa is severe, your doctor may remove bursal fluid with a needle, known as aspiration.
- Steroid injections: Cortisone injections into the bursa can help reduce swelling and pain associated with housekeeper’s knee. You can learn more in the Knee Injections section.
- Antibiotics: If your housekeeper has a knee infection, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. Usually after about three days of taking them, you should notice your symptoms start to improve.
- Surgery: Very occasionally, if all other treatments have failed and prepatellar bursitis is causing significant problems, surgery is needed to remove the bursa.
Also Read: Best Knee Wrap for Baker’s Cyst
Prepatellar bursitis recovery
Usually, housewives knee heals within a few weeks with proper prepatellar bursitis treatment. Addressing issues such as muscle imbalances is important to reduce the risk of bursa re-inflammation.
If you already have maid’s knee, it is recommended to avoid kneeling on hard surfaces by using cushioning such as gel pads to prevent recurrence.
If symptoms of prepatellar bursitis persist for more than 6 months with treatment and affect activities of daily living, surgical removal of the bursa may be recommended.
What else could it be?
Housemaid’s knee is one of the most common causes of knee pain and anterior knee swelling, but there are other options.
The infrapatellar bursa sits just below the kneecap around the patellar tendon. If your pain and swelling is just below the knee rather than just in front of the knee, see the Infrapatellar bursitis section.
Another common place for bursitis to occur is behind the knee, where the popliteal bursa is inflamed. You can learn more in the Baker’s Cyst section.
There are many other causes of anterior knee pain other than workman’s knee such as:
- Patellofemoral pain syndrome
- Plica syndrome
- Meniscus tears
- Osgood Schlatters
- Swelling above the knee
If you want some help figuring out what’s causing your pain, visit the ——- section.