Housemaids Knee – Prepatellar Bursitis

What is Housemaids Knee?

Housemaids Knee

Bursa is small sac filled with synovial fluid that surrounds the joint cavity. It is located between overlying skin and patella i.e. in the front region of  the knee. It also reduces the frictional force between the patella and  skin. Housemaids knee is a condition characterized by swelling or inflammation of the bursa. Due to excessive and repetitive forces on the front region of the knee, Pre-patellar bursitis is affected.

What are Housemaids Knee’s Symptoms?

One of the most common symptoms of housemaids knee is reddish, warm and painful swelling all around the knee cap or patella.  The epicenter of the pain will be on the front of the knee. The pain will not be acute but you will feel it on pressing or touching the affected area. You will feel difficulty and crepitus while bending and straightening your knees.  Even walking and kneeling will also be a tricky task. If the pre patellar bursitis is caused due to infection, you will experience fever.

What are Housemaids Knee’s Causes?

The main causes of housemaids knee are injury, infection and ongoing health conditions.  A sudden and direct blow to the knee will develop swelling in the bursa. Spending excessive of prolonged hours kneeling down will put pressure on bursa. Since housemaids spend long hours working on their knees or kneeling down on the hard ground, they were often diagnosed with this condition resulting in the name “housemaids knee.”Housemaids Knee symptoms

Sometimes, a small cut or injury will result in bacteria to spread infection in the bursa resulting in high temperature or fever. This usually happens to children. Sometimes, due to ongoing health conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, gout, scleroderma, ankylosing spondylitis and systemic lupus erythematosu will also develop inflammation in the bursa.

Diagnosis of Housemaids Knee:

Thorough physical test is conducted by your doctor along with medical history. A procedure called aspiration is carried out by your doctor wherein small sample of fluid from affected area is sent to laboratory for further accurate examination of the condition. X-ray, blood  test and MRI is conducted, if other tests failed to diagnose the accurate problem.

Treatment of Housemaids Knee:

Housemaid knees are generally treated with supportive treatments like rest, ice packs, physical therapy, etc. Some of the common treatments for housemaids knee  are

  • Using the P.R.I.C.E formula for reducing the swelling and pain in the knee.
    • Protect: Protecting the affected area from further damage or injury.
    • Rest: Resting will allow the condition to settle down naturally so that other treatment can be performed.
    • Ice: Ice packs will reduce pain and swelling . They should be applied 10-20 minutes at a time and several times a day.
    • Compression: Compression wrap will minimize the swelling. Many athletes and physical therapists use elastic and ace wraps.
    • Elevation: Elevating the injured area above the heart level will reduce the blood flow to the affected area. It can accomplished with pillow or rolled towel below the leg.
  • Exercise and Stretches: Quad stretch lying and standing are essential stretching exercises of your Prepatellar Bursitis treatment. Perform any one of the stretch for effectiveness and speeding up your recovery process.
  • Medications: NSAIDs like ibrufen can be taken with doctor’s advice for reducing inflammation.
  • Gel pads: They are excellent way to reduce pain while kneeling down on the floor.
  • Aspiration: A procedure in which small sample of fluid from swollen area is sent to laboratory by your doctor for accurate assessment of the condition.
  • Injections: Cortisone injection is administered along with aspiration, which helps in suppressing the immune system consequently reducing inflammation and pain in the knees.
  • Antibiotics: Your doctor may prescribe the following antibiotics according to the severity of the condition: flucloxacillin, erythromycin and clarithromycin .
  • Surgery: If the above mentioned treatment doesn’t respond well, then surgery may be the last resort. Generally, bursa is removed completely or the affected fluid is drained out of the bursa using incision and drainage method.

Recovery Period for Housemaids Knee:

Housemaids knee is effectively treated within few weeks. However, the accurate recovery period cannot be distinguished  because it depends on the severity of the condition.

Prevention:Housemaids Knee causes

Wearing kneepads when doing jobs that requires bending or kneeling on the ground. Wearing good shoes with extra cushioning will also help prevent the condition to recur. Regular interval while performing repetitive tasks and warming up
well before exercises will also help in prevention. Doing muscle strengthening exercise will also help but ensure you do only when the bursa is completely healed. 

Conclusion – Housemaids Knee :

Generally, the outcome of the housemaids knee treatment is very good. You may feel the difference sooner or later and the condition will clear up in a few weeks.