Suprapatellar knee bursitis


Knee bursitis is the disease of inflammation process, the source of which occurs in synovial bursa. This ailment is the most common among all the types of bursitis. The reason is structural specificity of synovial bursa – which has 9 bursae, the function of which is to dissipate force.

Occurrence condition of inflammation in one of the bursae defines types of the disease. If pathological process develops in synovial bursa, which connects knee cartilage, so the disease would be called as suprapatellar (infrapatellar) bursitis.

CAUSESTypes of knee bursitis

A great variety of causes and factors influence provoke occurrence of suprapatellar knee bursitis:

  • minor knee injury;
  • serious trauma of knee cap;
  • previous infectious, allergic or inflammatory disease in knee joint (bursitis can be formed as autonomic disease, as well as later complication).

Mostly affected by this disease sportsmen and whose profession requires kneeling for long periods of time.


As any other joint disease, suprapatellar knee bursitis has two forms: acute and chronic. It is easy to detect symptoms of the disease. They are:

  • swelling and redness, that appears externally;
  • severe pain when walking or touching;
  • disease formation is soft and quite elastic;
  • big sizes of swellings – up to 15 cm;
  • weakness, high body temperature is possible.

In case of chronic form of suprapatellar bursitis pain is reduced and movement is less painful. Walls of synovial bursa become thickened and small formations of white color gradually occur on them. After some time these formations are dropped off and get into the bursa as a foreign body.


However, symptoms of the disease are easy to detect visually, but correct diagnosis can be made only after analysis. This is referred to fact that joint diseases are very various, as well as types of bursitis, especially knee joint. It’s needed to detect type, manner and cause of the disease occurrence, in order to choose an effective treatment.

A number of examinations may help:

  • full blood analysis – allows detecting of inflammation processes of organism;Joint aspiration or Arthrocentesis
  • x-ray is used to define type of the disease, since color and form of spots on picture may show which type of disease is it. At suspicion on bursitis, patient takes a plain film or contrast X-ray;
  • thermography, which is based on scanning with infrared rays. After diagnostics with this method computer produces a thermogram, which shows temperature change of affected place, thus the source of inflammation is detected;
  • ultrasound analysis is used to obtain general information: disease localization and processes that developed in synovial bursa;
  • arthrocentesis of synovial fluid. It helps to define disease causes, allergic reaction to some medication, or severity of bursitis.


Suprapatellar bursitis can be treated without hospitalization in most cases. The doctor takes an arthrocentesis and injects an antiseptic into the knee cap, which cures the infection. A bandage is necessarily put to the knee and closely fixed. Sometimes doctor can use frame instead of bandage.

Active movement is not allowed for the patient for a week. If necessary, the patient can use supporting equipment like crutches. Warming procedures like baths or ointments are recommended additionally.


Abovementioned methods will be useless if suprapatellar bursitis developed into chronic form. It is related to the fact that salts Ca accumulate in synovial bursa, which destroy the joint. Treatment requires surgery, which provides salt formations removing with the help of surgical equipment.

More liberal methods considered to be: laser and ultrasound therapy. They have similar concept of action – Ca salt accumulations destroyed with the help of rays or ultrasound waves, without surgical interference. These methods not only help to avoid scaring, but provide complete removing of the accumulations in knee joint.


Unfortunately, folk methods are not able to cure suprapatellar knee bursitis. However, methods of folk medicine effectively reduce external signs of the disease, and can be useful rehabilitation period.

  • take 0, 5 kg of chopped onion and a glass of honey, floral preferably. Mix carefully and attach to sore joint for 3 times daily. Wrap this ointment warm and closely.
  • warm infusion of chamomile, hypericum, salvia rub over affected area a few times daily. In fact, this method isn’t recommended to use again.
  • raw vegetables attached to affected area grinded potato and cabbage leaves. Do this compress at night, and fix tightly.
  • tincture of alcohol, honey and hypericum. Take 0, 5l of alcohol, 5 tablespoons of honey and 1 tablespoon of dried hypericum, mix and infuse in cool dark place for 3 days. Mix with boiled water and drink 3 times a day.
  • tea of seleriac seeds can be prepared in proportion 1 tablespoon for 250ml of water. Have a few times daily.


In order to avoid development of suprapatellar arthritis, patients must keep following recommendations:

  • avoid knee cap injury;
  • after prolonged kneeling or a minor trauma – consult a doctor, take an examination and necessary analysis;
  • keep a diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, and juices;
  • necessarily treat all the diseases in order to provoke new diseases and complications.


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