Prepatellar Bursitis: Exercises, Treatments and Prevention

Prepatellar Bursitis

We all must have experienced knee pain at some point in our lives. And most times it is not a cause for concern but sometimes it is. Knee pain can arise from various sources, and one common culprit is prepatellar bursitis. This condition, characterized by inflammation of the prepatellar bursa located just above the kneecap, can lead to discomfort, limited mobility, and frustration. In this blog, we will delve into the causes, symptoms, and effective strategies for managing prepatellar bursitis.

What Is Prepatellar Bursitis? What Is Prepatellar Bursitis?

It is a condition that causes inflammation of the prepatellar bursa, a small fluid-filled sac located between the patella (kneecap) and the skin and tendons of the knee.

When this prepatellar bursa becomes inflamed, it can lead to prepatellar bursitis. This inflammation can be triggered due to various factors, such as irritation, overuse, or trauma to the knee area. Individuals who frequently engage in activities that involve prolonged kneeling are more susceptible to this condition.

What are The Causes? 

Several factors contribute to the development of prepatellar bursitis:

  1. Repetitive Kneeling: Occupations or hobbies that require frequent kneeling, like gardening or construction work, can put pressure on the prepatellar bursa, which can lead to irritation and inflammation.
  2. Trauma or Direct Pressure: A sudden fall or blow to the front of the knee can cause trauma to the prepatellar bursa. Constant pressure on the knee, such as resting it on hard surfaces, can also result in inflammation.
  3. Infections: Although rare, infections can lead to infected bursae, causing pain. These infections are often caused by bacteria entering the bursa through cuts or breaks in the skin.

Recognizing the Symptoms

The symptoms of prepatellar bursitis are:

  • Swelling: The area just above the kneecap becomes visibly swollen and feels tender to the touch. This swelling is a result of the accumulation of excess fluid within the bursa due to inflammation.
  • Pain: Discomfort is a common complaint, especially when moving the knee. Activities that involve bending or extending the knee can trigger pain, limiting the range of motion.
  • Limited Mobility: Swelling and pain can restrict the knee’s ability to move fully, thus impacting everyday activities like walking, climbing stairs, or bending.
  • Painful Kneeling: Engaging in activities that require kneeling, such as gardening or kneeling at prayer, can exacerbate pain and discomfort.

Effective Exercises For Prepatellar Bursitis Relief

Engaging in targeted exercises is a vital component of managing prepatellar bursitis. But make sure to always consult a healthcare professional before starting any exercise regimen, especially if you’re dealing with prepatellar bursitis. Here are some exercises that can aid in your recovery:

Quadriceps StretchQuadriceps Stretch

  • Stand near a wall or sturdy surface for support.
  • Bend one knee and grab your ankle behind you with the corresponding hand.
  • Gently pull your heel toward your buttocks, feeling a stretch in the front of your thigh.
  • Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds on each leg.

Hamstring Stretch

  • Sit on the edge of a chair or a raised surface.
  • Extend one leg straight in front of you with your heel on the ground and toes pointing upward.
  • Gently hinge forward at your hips, feeling a stretch in the back of your thigh.
  • Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds on each leg.

Wall Slideswall slides

  • Stand against a wall with your back touching it.
  • Slowly slide down the wall by bending your knees, as if you’re sitting in a chair.
  • Hold the position for a few seconds and then slide back up.
  • Perform 10-15 repetitions.

Straight Leg Raises

  • Lie on your back with one leg straight and the other bent at the knee.
  • Tighten the muscles on the front of your thigh (quadriceps) of the straight leg.
  • Lift your straight leg a few inches off the ground and hold for a few seconds.
  • Slowly lower your leg back down.
  • Perform 10-15 repetitions on each leg.

Wall Calf StretchWall Calf Stretch

  • Stand facing a wall with your hands against it for support.
  • Step one foot back and keep it straight, with the heel on the ground.
  • Gently lean forward, feeling a stretch in the calf of the back leg.
  • Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds on each leg.

Ankle Pumps

  • Sit on a chair with your feet flat on the ground.
  • Gently move your ankles up and down in a pumping motion.
  • Perform this motion for 1-2 minutes.

Treatment Approaches For Prepatellar BursitisTreatment Approaches

Prepatellar bursitis can be a pretty painful condition, however,r there is good news. There are various treatment approaches available to help reduce symptoms, promote healing, and restore normal knee function. The choice of treatment depends on how severe the condition is, the causes, and the individual’s overall health. Here, we delve into the different treatment options for prepatellar bursitis:

Rest and Activity Modification

Rest is often the initial step in managing prepatellar bursitis. Avoiding activities that exacerbate pain and irritation, particularly those involving kneeling or direct pressure on the front of the knee, allows the inflamed bursa to heal. Activity modification ensures that the knee is given ample time to recover.

Ice Therapy

Applying ice to the affected area reduces inflammation, alleviates pain, and provides relief. Ice should be applied for about 15-20 minutes at a time, several times a day. Also, ensure that there is a protective barrier, like a cloth, between the ice and the skin to prevent frostbite.

Anti-Inflammatory Medications

Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen, can provide temporary pain relief and reduce inflammation. However, long-term use should be monitored and discussed with a healthcare professional.

Protective Padding and Support

Using knee pads or cushioning when engaging in physical activities can prevent further irritation and pressure on the prepatellar bursa. Properly fitted knee pads or protective gear can offer you support and reduce the risk of recurrence.

Physical Therapy

This one might seem a bit obvious nevertheless, it cannot be ignored. Physical therapy plays a crucial role in prepatellar bursitis management. A skilled physical therapist designs an exercise program that focuses on strengthening the muscles around the knee, improving flexibility and overall knee health. Therapists also guide individuals in performing exercises that promote proper knee movement and alignment.

Aspiration and Injection

In some cases, a doctor may perform an aspiration as well. This involves removing excess fluid from the bursa using a needle. Corticosteroid injections, which have anti-inflammatory properties, may also be administered to reduce inflammation and pain. These treatments are done in cases that do not respond to conservative treatment options.


Antibiotics may be prescribed If prepatellar bursitis is caused by an infection, to treat the bacterial infections. This approach is important to prevent the infection from spreading further and causing more serious complications.

Lifestyle Modifications and Prevention

Adopting a knee-friendly lifestyle is essential for preventing recurrence. This includes maintaining proper posture during activities, avoiding prolonged kneeling, and incorporating regular stretches and exercises that support your knee health.

How To Prevent Prepatellar Bursitis? "</strong

Here are some strategies to help you maintain optimal knee health and function:

  • Mindful Kneeling: If your activities involve kneeling, such as gardening or cleaning, use proper techniques to minimize strain. Consider using knee pads to create a protective barrier between your knee and the ground.
  • Gradual Activity Progression: When starting a new activity or exercise routine, progress gradually. Avoid sudden increases in intensity or duration that could overload your knee joints and increase the risk of irritation.
  • Balanced Muscle Strengthening: Strengthening the muscles around your knee is essential for maintaining joint stability. A balanced muscle structure reduces the risk of imbalances that could contribute to bursitis.
  • Flexibility and Range of Motion: Regularly incorporate stretching exercises to maintain flexibility and a healthy range of motion in your knee joint.
  • Body Mechanics Awareness: Pay attention to your body mechanics during activities that involve your knees. Whether you’re lifting objects or performing tasks that require bending, use proper form to avoid strain on your knees.
  • Knee-Friendly Footwear: Wearing appropriate footwear is crucial for knee health. This can reduce the impact on the knee joints.
  • Regular Physical Activity: Engage in regular physical activity to maintain overall joint health and prevent stiffness. Low-impact exercises like swimming, cycling, and walking can contribute to knee well-being.
  • Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight can significantly reduce stress on your knee joints. Excess body weight places additional strain on your knees, increasing the risk of inflammation and bursitis.
  • Protective Gear: When participating in sports or activities that carry a risk of knee impacts such as biking or rollerblading, consider wearing appropriate protective gear like knee pads.
  • Regular Check-Ups: Periodic visits to a healthcare professional can help monitor the condition of your knees and detect any emerging issues early.


Prepatellar bursitis might be a challenge, but it’s also an opportunity to prioritize self-care and make informed decisions. By recognizing the signs, seeking professional guidance, and embracing rehabilitation strategies, we pave the way for recovery. By incorporating these insights into your daily routine, you’re not just addressing a condition – you’re creating a foundation for a healthier, happier life.

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