What causes prepatellar bursitis (housemaid's knee)?

Updated: Sep 15, 2020
  • Author: Divakara Kedlaya, MBBS; Chief Editor: Dean H Hommer, MD  more...
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Any of the following causes may be associated with development of prepatellar bursitis:

  • Direct trauma (eg, a fall on the patella or direct blow to the knee)

  • Recurrent minor injuries associated with overuse (eg, repeated kneeling): Superficial bursitis most commonly results from chronic microtrauma

  • Septic or pyogenic process

    • Infection common from Staphylococcus aureus (usually from a break in the skin)

    • More prevalent in children

    • Can be mistaken for pyogenic arthritis

    • Fungal bursitis caused by Prototheca wickerhamii; usually occurs in immunocompromised patients (rarely reported in immunocomptent individuals) [23]

  • Crystal deposition (eg, gout, pseudogout)

  • History of inflammatory disease

  • Occupation

    • Carpet layer

    • Coal miner

    • Roofer

    • Plumber

    • Homemaker (housemaid's knee)

Krishna et al reported on the case of a male patient, aged 25 years, with postpolio residual paralysis, who developed massive prepatellar bursitis as a result of ambulating on his knees. The patient, who was obese and had scoliosis (convexity to the right side), had swelling on the anterior portion of the right knee measuring 20 x 10 x 8 cm. [24]

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