Infrapatellar Bursitis

Infrapatella bursitis

Infrapatellar bursitis is inflammation of the Infrapatellar bursa at the front of the knee. A bursa is a small sack of fluid, used to aid movement in joints. Here we explain the symptoms, causes, and treatment.


Medically reviewed by Dr. Chaminda Goonetilleke, 31st Dec. 2021

Infrapatellar bursitis symptoms

Infrapatellar bursitis symptoms consist of:

  • Pain at the front of the knee, just below the kneecap
  • Local swelling

Symptoms are similar to that of jumper’s knee (patellar tendinopathy).

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What is infra-patellar bursitis?

Infrapatellar bursitis is also known as clergyman’s knee. Specifically, it is inflammation of the infrapatellar bursa.


A bursa is a small sac of fluid whose function is to lubricate the movement between tendons and bone.

Knee bursa

The infrapatellar bursa lies deep between the patellar tendon and the upper front surface of the tibia or shin bone. Its function is to aid movement by lubricating the tendon as it moves over the bone.

What causes Infrapatella bursitis?

Friction between the skin and the bursa causes Infrapatellar bursitis. Overuse is the primary cause. It sometimes occurs in conjunction with Jumper’s knee.

Treatment of infrapatellar bursitis


Rest is important to allow the inflamed bursa to settle down. This means either modifying activities for a while, or complete rest for a few days. Avoid kneeling because this increases direct pressure on your knee and is most likely to aggravate the symptoms.

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Cold therapy

Apply cold therapy and compression to help to reduce the pain and swelling. Do not apply ice directly to the skin. Wrap in a wet tea towel, or use a commercially available hot & cold wrap.


A doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication such as Ibuprofen but don’t take if you have asthma.


Infrapatellar bursitis treatment - aspirating the bursa
Aspirating the knee drains fluid out of the swollen bursa.

If conservative treatment fails then a doctor may aspirate the bursa. This involves draining fluid from the bursa with a needle and syringe.


Often corticosteroid injection into the bursa is an option.


Surgery to remove the bursa is a last resort.

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