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.

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Infrapatellar bursitis symptoms

  • Infrapatellar bursitis symptoms consist of pain at the front of the knee.
  • You will likely have swelling over the area of the infrapatellar bursa.
  • Symptoms may be similar to that of jumper’s knee or patellar tendonitis with pain just below the kneecap.

What is infra-patellar bursitis?

Knee bursa

A bursa is a small sac of fluid whose function is to lubricate the movement between tendons and bone. Infrapatellar bursitis or clergyman’s knee as it may sometimes be known is inflammation of the infrapatellar 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?

  • Infrapatellar bursitis can be caused by friction between the skin and the bursa.
  • Overuse is the primary cause. It is sometimes associated with or happens in conjunction with Jumper’s knee.

Treatment of infrapatellar bursitis

Infrapatellar bursitis treatment - aspirating the bursa
Aspirating the knee drains fluid out of the swollen bursa.
  • Rest is important to allow the inflamed bursa to settle down.
  • This may mean modifying activities for a while, or complete rest for a few days.
  • Avoid putting direct pressure on the knee such as when kneeling as this is most likely to aggravate the symptoms.
  • Apply cold therapy and compression to help to reduce the pain and swelling.
  • A doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication such as Ibuprofen but don’t take if you have asthma.
  • If conservative treatment fails then a doctor may aspirate the bursa. This involves draining out the fluid from the bursa with a needle and syringe.
  • Often an injection of corticosteroids into the bursa may be used as well.
  • Surgery to remove the bursa may be undertaken as a last resort.

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