Wrestling with Kneecap (prepatellar) Bursitis
Anthony Cappellino, M.D.
spend a great portion of a match on their knees. Constant pressure, friction
and impact can often cause them to experience swelling in the front of the
knee. The constant friction irritates a small lubricating sac (bursa)
located just in front of the kneecap (patella). The bursa enables the
kneecap to move smoothly under the skin. If the bursa becomes inflamed, it
fills with fluid and causes swelling at the top of the knee. This condition
is called prepatellar bursitis.
Pain with wrestling,
but not usually at night.
swelling on the front of kneecap ( usually soft and easily compressed )
tenderness, warm to the touch.
Sometimes, it is advisable to recommend an X-ray to rule out the possibility
of a fracture. However, I find conservative treatment is usually quite
effective, as long as the bursa is simply inflamed and not infected ( a
consequence of untreated bursitis that is re-aggravated with continued
wrestling without treatment).
wrestling or substitute other exercises ( for weight management and
maintenance of physical conditioning ) until the bursitis clears up.
Apply ice at regular
intervals three or four times a day for 20 minutes at a time. Each session
should reduce swelling considerably if the knee is also being rested.
Elevate the affected
leg except when necessary to walk.
anti-inflammatory medication such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
treatment incorporating these treatments and others is the fastest way to
resolve the bursitis and return to wrestling.
the swelling is significant, your physician may decide to drain (aspirate)
the bursa with a needle. Chronic swelling that causes disability may also be
treated by draining the bursa, but if the swelling continues, your orthopaedic surgeon may recommend surgical removal of the bursa. The
operation is an outpatient procedure. It takes a few days for the knee to
regain its flexibility and some weeks before normal activities can be
Preventing knee bursitis:
A You can
help prevent bursitis by following these simple recommendations:
1. Wear kneepads when
wrestling. Wearing knee sleeves that help reduce the friction developed with
knee to mat surface contact.
2. Apply ice and elevate your knees after a workout.
3. Have swelling or pain
on the front of your knee evaluated by your team athletic trainer, or by a
physician when it first starts. Donít wait for it to become chronic. Early
treatment is the best way to prevent lost wrestling time.
Dr. Anthony Cappellino
is a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon and Sports Medicine specialist. His
office is located in
Dr. Cappellino can be reached at 631-376-0791
material is intended for general information purposes only
and is not designed to replace a diagnoses by your physician.
American Orthopedic Association
01.2004 Anthony Cappellino, M.D.