Is it Safe to Run with a Housemaid’s Knee?

Can I run with the housemaid's knee? No, and it shouldn't be attempted, as it could lead to further complications if you haven't fully recovered. Running is fun and most health physicians recommend it to people of all ages. But it feels good when it's pain-free.

The scientific name of the housemaid's knee is prepatellar bursitis, a condition affecting the kneecap and lower leg. The primary cause is inflammation of the bursa (a fluid-filled sac) at the front of your kneecap.

The pain is usually agonizing for people who spend most parts of their day standing up. It's a common occupational hazard for waitresses, gardeners, nurses, warehouse workers, and runners.

Understanding Housemaids Knee

You experience a housemaid's knee when there's inflammation on your patellar tendon. These are bands of tissue linking your shinbone to the kneecap. Other common names for housemaid's knee are:

·    Jumper's knee

·    Gardener's knee

More women experience housemaid's knees than men because the connective tissues are weaker and they experience fluctuating hormones. Note that the condition doesn't mean you're inactive or physically unfit.

It's important to understand what triggers this condition and learn how you can cope with or prevent it from affecting your daily activities.

Understanding Housemaids Knee

Causes of Housemaid's Knee

There's more than one way that you can become predisposed to this condition. These are:

·    Age – A significant number of people with housemaid’s knee condition are the elderly especially if their working years required standing up for long periods.

·    Obesity – Obese people have knees with poor muscle tone and this makes them more inclined to have knee complications.

·    Occupation – If your activities include kneeling on firm surfaces.

·    Direct trauma

Causes of Housemaid's Knee

What Causes Knee Bursitis among Runners

The bursa resembles a small water balloon. The outer layer is covered by synovial tissues and the liquid inside is synovial fluid (thick egg-white liquid).

The bursa swells from producing excessive synovial fluid which may lead to pain and hinder knee movement.

Common causes of runners are:

·    Excessive running

·    Tight hamstrings

·    Obese

·    Osteoarthritis of the knee

·    Meniscus tear from trauma or falling

Knee Bursitis Symptoms

The symptoms are different depending on which area of the knee is inflamed. Knee bursitis can happen in the following areas:

·    Inside the knee (below the joint)

·    Under or around the knee cap

·    Behind your knee (Baker's cyst).

Watch out for these symptoms:

·    Pain when the inflamed bursa area is pressed

·    Redness and swelling of your knee

·    Tightness of the knee from the swelling

·    Pain when moving the knee (bending or climbing/going down the stairs)

·    Difficulty squatting or extending the leg

Knee Bursitis Symptoms

Knee Bursitis Treatment

There are many ways you can treat knee bursitis and this makes it challenging to determine the best method. Diagnosing and treating it early prevents the condition from worsening.

Knee bursitis isn't life-threatening but failure to treat and manage it early may interfere with your ability to perform daily tasks.

Anti-inflammatory Medications

Physicians prescribe these medications to give you a reprieve. Note that long-term use isn't recommended as they might cause other complications.

Moist Heat

Apply moist heat for at least 10 minutes 2-3 times a day.


Rest is recommended for the early days to help cope with severe pain. Avoid strenuous activities until the pain relents.

Stretching Exercises

Gently stretch your calves, quadriceps, and hamstring to manage muscle flexibility. Stretching also helps to alleviate the pain.
Knee Bursitis Treatment

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy helps to strengthen the kneecap tendon removing the stress from the patellar ligament. It's a sensitive procedure that requires the guidance of your physical therapist.

Ice Therapy

Apply ice to the inflamed area for at least 10 minutes after every 2-3 hours. It's an effective way to reduce swelling and inflammation.

Orthotic Devices

Orthotic devices like a knee brace support the knee and manage the pain by limiting your knee's range of motion. It also lessens the stress on tendons.


Surgery, drainage, and steroid injections are effective but should be used as a last resort should all the other treatments fail to work. Surgery involves removing or repairing damaged tendons.

How to Prevent Knee Bursitis

·    Exercise regularly

·    Eat a healthy and balanced diet

·    Check your weight

·    Avoid activities that involve kneeling for long periods


Can I run with housemaid's knee? Treating knee bursitis requires patience and perseverance. The healing process varies from one individual to another and you shouldn't worry if yours takes longer than another person's.

The severity of your injury may determine the treatment method but there's no time frame for your recovery. With proper treatment and care, your pain and swelling will reduce, improving your condition within a short time.


Can I walk with a housemaid's knee?

Avoid strenuous activities if possible. You can walk if the pain is tolerable but consider short distances and standing times. Be careful not to exert pressure on your knee joints during the early stages of healing.

Can Squats cause a housemaid's knee?

Yes, the meniscus cartilage undergoes lots of pressure when you deep squat (especially with heavy weights). Squats can cause the wear and tear of critical cartilage and ligaments over time. But if you exercise squats under expert guidance, you may improve your knee joint health.

Can I exercise with knee bursitis?

Yes, but perform delicate routines that don't stress the knee joints. Consider quad sets, straight-leg raises, and heel slides.

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