Housemaids Knee

Housemaids KneeHousemaids knee is a swelling of the bursa at the front of the knee. The term comes from people whose work requires them to kneel for long periods of time. It is a type of knee pain that goes by several different terms. It is also referred to as:

  • Prepatellar Bursitis
  • Knee Bursitis
  • Beat Knee
  • Carpet Layer’s Knee
  • Coal Miner’s Knee
  • Rug Cutter’s Knee
  • Nun’s Knee

From all of the different names above Prepatellar Bursitis is the technical term for housemaids knee. However, no matter what you call the condition it all equals one thing: knee pain.


The Bursa is a small sac filled with synovial fluid. This fluid is a natural lubricant of the knee joints. It’s purpose is to lubricate the surrounding parts of the knee so they don’t stick or catch together.

Prepatellar bursitis (housemaids knee) is an inflammation of the bursa. It can be caused by a one time injury to the knee or repeated smaller injuries that occur over time.


The main symptom of housemaids knee is swelling of the knee, however, other symptoms are known to be associated with it.

  • Swelling
  • Pain on pressure
  • Redness
  • Warm to the touch
  • Fever if infected
  • Discomfort when flexed


Swelling is the main symptom of housemaids knee. If you kneel repeatedly and notice swelling then it’s possible you have Prepatellar Bursitis. However, for a more accurate diagnosis visit your doctor or health care provider. He or she will perform a physical examination and check your medical history to determine your exact knee condition. MRI’s and X-Rays are not required.


The most recommended way to treat Prepatellar Bursitis (housemaids knee) is the RICE method. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compress & Elevate. Resting the knee and avoiding the act of kneeling is extremely important. NSAID’s (over the counter medication) will temporarily relieve your knee pain as well.

Exercise & physical therapy might be recommended to strengthen the muscles around the knee. In some cases doctors will drain the fluid from the bursa. This is known as joint aspiration.


Preventing Prepatellar Bursitis is possible. However, there are certain measures you have to take to reduce the chances of developing it.

  • Wear kneepads if you kneel for work or sport.
  • Rest your knees regularly
  • Stretch your legs
  • Switch activities or jobs if possible
  • Use RICE after completing your activity

For even more information make sure to go through these other helpful articles:

  1. Knee Bursitis
  2. Chondromalacia Patella
  3. Patella Femoral Syndrome
  4. Knee Pain When Kneeling

Have You Ever Had Prepatellar Bursitis? Please Comment Below.

Article last updated on January 8th, 2019, first published on June 18, 2013.

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