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House maid's knee

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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Prepatellar bursitis is caused by repeated friction between the skin and the patella.

  • the prepatellar bursae is a closed space and has no communications with the knee joint (1)
  • it occurs in situations where the patient is constantly on his / her knees
  • this condition used to be characteristic of housemaids (hence known as the ‘housemaid’s disease’); they spent a lot of their working day on their knees washing floors etc.
  • today this condition is more likely to be seen in trades such as carpet fitters.

Prepatellar bursitis can be broadly classified as:

  • septic
  • non septic (1)


  1. McAfee JH, Smith DL. Olecranon and prepatellar bursitis. Diagnosis and treatment. West J Med. 1988;149(5):607-10

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