Knee > Housemaid's Knee > Treatments

    Non-Surgical Treatment

Home Recovery

Whether it stems from an acute injury or chronic overuse, housemaid's knee often can be treated effectively using the routine known as R.I.C.E. - Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation:

   Rest - Your doctor will likely suggest that you take it easy for several days, so it may be wise to clear your schedule of any physical activities.

    Ice - Initially, your doctor may recommend applying ice packs to the knee for about 20 minutes every three or four hours. You will probably need to do this for two or three days or until the pain subsides.

    Compression - A knee sleeve will compress the knee and help keep the swelling down. Make sure to use a sleeve without a "donut," or hole, over the kneecap. The sleeve should be worn until the swelling goes away.

    Elevation - Elevating your knee above the level of your heart will help reduce swelling by dispersing excess fluid away from the injured area.

Whenever a joint is injured, it is a good idea to reduce the amount of stress placed on that joint. For housemaid's knee, that means avoiding kneeling, bending, and squatting as much as possible. Your doctor may suggest non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen to control the inflammation and swelling in your knee. If your housemaid's knee was caused by an acute injury, such as a direct blow, it usually will go away after several weeks as the body gradually absorbs the blood that is in the bursa. One way to treat swelling and inflammation caused by housemaid's knee is to use a warm compress, such as a washcloth, on your kneecap. Applying heat to the kneecap can improve circulation and help your body break down the inflammation in the bursa. The compress should be applied two or three times a day, using gentle pressure on the kneecap. The water should be as hot as tolerable, as it will cool quickly. Be sure not to use on an acutely inflamed knee, or a knee that has had a recent trauma. In these cases, ice may be more appropriate.

Rehabilitation [top]

One way to minimize discomfort caused by housemaid's knee is to wear kneepads that will cushion your kneecap when you are kneeling. These should be worn on both knees for balance. Any kneepad you use should be flexible enough to allow you to kneel comfortably, but should also have enough padding over the kneecap to allow you to kneel without pain. Comfort and durability should be your main criteria.


Housemaid's knee can disrupt your routine if you regularly engage in activities that require you to kneel on hard surfaces for extended periods of time. Depending on the degree of inflammation to the bursa sac in front of your kneecap, you may need to avoid squatting or bending down, since those motions causes the skin to be stretched over the front of your knee. If your work requires you to spend a lot of time on your knees on hard surfaces, it is probably wise to consider wearing kneepads before you start noticing any pain or swelling in your kneecap.

Non-Surgical Treatment
   Home Recovery

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