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What Does Prepatellar Bursitis Feel Like & How Long Does It Take To Heal?

What Is Prepatellar Bursitis?

Prepatellar Bursitis which is also known by the name of Housemaid’s Knee is an extremely painful condition of the knee associated with inflammation and swelling of the prepatellar bursa. This prepatellar bursa is located between the skin and the kneecap.[1] The bursa refers to a fluid filled sac which acts as a shock absorber in between the joints in the body. They reduce the friction that occurs when the tendons and bones rub against each other during normal movements of the joints everyday.

What Does Prepatellar Bursitis Feel Like?

The covering of the bursa acts as a lubricant for the tendons and allows them to move smoothly through the joint surface.[2] The presenting features of a prepatellar bursitis are quite variable depending on whether the condition is caused as a result of an injury or an accident or whether it is caused as a result of normal wear and tear of the joint due to overuse, or whether it is caused as a result of any other underlying medical condition.[3]

In cases of prepatellar bursitis caused due to overuse, then the main symptoms are a constant dull ache or a burning pain around the kneecap which can worsen with even light palpation, pressure, or any movement of the joint. There will also be visible swelling around the area of the kneecap.

Swelling is not that prominent in cases where prepatellar bursitis is caused by an infection or other underlying medical conditions. Additionally, the knee joint will be extremely stiff and movement of the knee joint will cause extreme discomfort. The stiffness will be worse first thing in the morning and will improve as the day goes on. The pertinent question here is how long does it take for prepatellar bursitis to heal.

What Does Prepatellar Bursitis Feel Like?

How Long Does Prepatellar Bursitis Take To Heal?

The overall time required for prepatellar bursitis to heal is quite variable and may vary from as less as two weeks to more than 8 weeks in duration. In certain acute cases of prepatellar bursitis it may take longer than 10 weeks for the condition to heal. The overall healing time depends on the underlying cause of the condition and the location of the bursitis.

In cases where the joint is required to be used excessively and does not get time to rest then the healing time for prepatellar bursitis will obviously be more. The usual treatment method for prepatellar bursitis is a short course of NSAIDs in the form of Tylenol or Motrin to help with the pain and inflammation. In cases of septic bursitis antibiotics may also be prescribed.

The physician will also recommend application of ice pack on the affected knee for 15-20 minutes two to three times a day to calm down the swelling and inflammation. Alternatively, heat can also be used for the same purpose but it should be noted here that both ice and heat should not be applied simultaneously as it may cause blisters to develop.

During the healing phase it is recommended to avoid any aggravating activities that may potentially flare up the prepatellar bursitis such that the healing time will get prolonged. Even though aggravating activities are not recommended it is also advised not to keep the joint totally stationary as it may lead to joint weakness.[4]

Additionally, massage and physical therapy also is recommended in order to facilitate faster healing of Prepatellar Bursitis.


Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 15, 2020

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