Prepatellar bursitis (nonseptic)


  • Generally occurs via repetitive kneeling on hard surfaces
  • One of the more common sites for septic bursitis (especially in children)

Clinical Features

  • Mild pain
  • Swelling over lower pole of patella that may result in restricted ROM
    • May be so severe that must differentiate from a joint effusion

Differential Diagnosis

Knee diagnoses

Acute knee injury



  • Clinical diagnosis, based on history and physical exam
  • There is currently no consensus on the optimal diagnosis strategy for prepatellar bursitis. The majority of patients studied did receive an aspiration of fluid (82%), but those patients had a significantly higher rate of complications (persistent infection, secondary infection in initially aseptic bursae) than patients treated with antibiotics alone.[1]


  • Supportive
    • NSAIDs
    • Rest
    • Warm compresses
  • IV antibiotics if infected bursa (Septic bursitis) is suspected


  • Outpatient

See Also


  1. Baumbach SF et al. Prepatellar and Olecranon bursitis: literature review and development ofa treatment algorithm. Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. (2014) 134: 359 - 370.
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