Knee bursitis

of the prepatellar serous bursa located anteriorly and distally from the patella.

Also known as the washerwoman's knee, this pathology is the result of repeated trauma such as frequent kneeling on hard surfaces (hence the "washerwoman" attribute).

Even acute traumatic situations, such as a strong blow to the knee, can cause local bleeding which, penetrating into the bursa, irritates and inflames it (in this case we speak of acute traumatic bursitis).

Precisely for these reasons, knee bursitis occurs more frequently in contact sports such as football, wrestling, rugby, volleyball and artistic gymnastics. In all these cases it can be prevented simply by adopting safety devices such as padded knee pads.

If the trauma is also associated with a skin lesion, the germs (staphylococci) present on the skin can infect the bursa. In this case we speak of septic bursitis.


Bursae are serous sacs filled with a lubricating liquid. These bags allow the tendon to slide without friction over the joint. Normally the bags are filled with a thin film of liquid but in particular conditions they can become inflamed drawing fluids inside them. This swelling is called bursitis.

they are not normally necessary but can be performed to rule out any complications (bone fractures)

5-20 minutes daily for the first 2-3 days). At a later stage it is important to apply a compression bandage which, associated with the rest of the joint, allows healing in about seven days.

Recurrent knee bursitis, as we have seen, is caused by minor trauma repeated over time. For this reason it tends to become chronic, making healing more difficult. Also in this case it is recommended to repeat the same treatment seen for traumatic bursitis (R.I.C.E: ice, bandage / compression, rest, elevation). However, these measures are often not sufficient and the doctor can perform local cortisone injections associated with aspiration of excess fluid or resort to a small surgical removal operation.

For further information: Drugs for the Treatment of Bursitis

Septic bursitis, sometimes associated with fever, requires, in addition to general measures (R.I.C.E), the use of antibiotics (usually intravenously) and careful hygiene rules to fight the infection. In these cases, the doctor may decide to aspirate some liquid to carry out laboratory investigations and, if necessary, suggest surgical removal.

Infrotellar bursitis: affects the small bursa located below the distal part of the patellar tendon, in correspondence with the anteroproximal part of the tibia. Much rarer pathology than the previous one may be caused by the presence of a bone fragment, or by a residual complication of Osgood-Shattler's disease. The pain is therefore localized in the lower part of the knee and the treatment, often conservative, is very similar to that of pre-patellar bursitis.

For further information: The bunions

Shoulder bursitis

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