Housemaid's knee (bursitis) 

Housemaid's knee is the common name for bursitis affecting the knee. It can occur as a result of injury, repetitive movement or, less commonly, infection. An expert describes the symptoms of the condition and treatment options.

Find out how to treat bursitis

Transcript of Housemaid's knee (bursitis)

Housemaid's knee is a condition that's also known as prepatellar bursitis.

Overlying your kneecap you have a capsule called a bursa,

which is like a fluid-filled sac.

Sometimes that sac can become inflamed and that's what housemaid's knee is.

The symptoms are swelling and pain over the kneecap.

Sometimes it can be hot and red as well in that area.

There are many causes of housemaid's knee.

The most common cause is through repetitive pressure to that area.

If you do a lot of kneeling through your job or hobbies,

that's one of the most likely causes.

Another cause is a direct sudden injury to the knee,

like a direct blow to the knee, that can cause it.

Also people who suffer from gout or rheumatoid arthritis

are predisposed to getting housemaid's knee.

If your housemaid's knee is due to infection,

you might also have symptoms of fever and feeling generally unwell.

If you have these symptoms you should see your doctor

because the infection would need to be treated with antibiotics.

If infection's been ruled out,

the best treatment for housemaid's knee is rest, ice packs and painkillers.

The GP might also recommend that you see a physiotherapist

to help with exercises to help prevent the housemaid's knee coming again

and also to help you walk more easily with the current episode.

It's definitely possible to help prevent housemaid's knee recurring again.

The ways of doing this are

using knee pads or big foam cushions under your knees

if you're doing actions like kneeling

and taking regular breaks

from any activity putting pressure over the knees.

If you think you have housemaid's knee,

the best thing to do is see your GP,

who can confirm the diagnosis, rule out infection

and give you advice as to the best way to manage it.

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