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February 21, 2010, last updated December 6, 2012

By Katrina Devine, Contributing Columnist



House maid’s knee, clergyman’s knee, roofer’s knee, carpet
layer’s knee, pes anserine bursitis or prepatellar bursitis --
whatever you choose to call it -- knee bursitis is painful
condition.

As these names suggest, knee bursitis is an occupational
hazard for some professions but it can happen to almost
anyone who puts pressure on their knees for an extended
amount of time, in particular gardeners.

According to the Mayo Clinic, 1 out of 3 people over the age
of 45 suffers from knee pain.  That's 33% of us with knee
pain! Bursitis is a contributing factor in some of these cases.


What Causes Knee Bursitis?

In the structure of our knees we have several different
parts, including 15 small fluid filled sacs, known as bursae.
They surround the knee as a cushion of sorts. The bursae
that cause the problem in prepatellar bursitis is located
between the knee-cap (patella) and the skin.


If there is repeated friction between the knee-cap and the
skin, then the bursa becomes inflamed and the amount of
fluid increases. Normally it is caused by repeated kneeling or
repetitive banging of the area. A direct trauma to the knee
such as falling can also cause the inflammation.

Update:

There are four common types of knee bursitis, each named
for the particular  region of the knee it affects--- prepatellar,
olecranon, retrocalcane and trochanteric.

According to a 2009 study from the University of San
Francisco, the most common reason for knee bursitis
forming is excessive amounts of kneeling.

Another more rare cause is infection from a cut in the skin.

A problem can also arise if the fluid inside the bursae
becomes infected; this is called septic prepatellar bursitis.


The area will appear swollen and movement will be limited.

Remedies and Treatments for Knee Bursitis

A 2010 study from the University of Sydney  identified the
following as the most common treatments or remedies for  
knee bursitis:




























Rest: This is one of the most prescribed treatments for a
simple instance of knee bursitis. It involves not moving or
putting any pressure on the knee and when possible keeping
it elevated. Exercise should begin again slowly after 3 days.



Cold and heat therapy: It is important to apply the cold
treatment first and then the hot treatment. Cold pressure
such as an ice pack should be applied to the area for 20
minutes every 2 or 3 hours. This is valuable only in the first
24-48 hours of the problem presenting itself. After the cold
treatment has been performed after the second day begin
the same process but with a heated pad.


Pain killers: mild painkillers such as aspirin can be taken to
lessen the pain but should not replace resting the affected
area. A stronger injection of pain killers can be administered
by a health care professional if the pain is severe.


Surgery: this is the very last option in cases of recurring
bursitis. If all other treatment methods have failed and the
person has ceased the activity that was causing the
inflammation then the bursae can be removed to prevent
further flare-ups.

In cases of septic bursitis then the condition must be treated
with antibiotics, normally on a 10 day course. In very rare
cases surgical intervention involving draining the fluid from
the bursae is performed.


The best way to prevent knee bursitis forming is to take
regular breaks from kneeling and try to protect your knees if
you are doing a sport where there is a chance of trauma on
your knees.

Update:

Steroids Can Help Certain Kinds of Knee Bursitis

If you have prepatellar or olecranon knee bursitis, your
doctor may use a corticosteroid injection to relieve the
swelling, according to a 2011 report from doctors at the
Alpert Medical School of Brown University.



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Prolonged activity on your knees such as
gardening can cause knee bursitis.