Tile Layers and Knee Problems

Individuals who spend a lot of time on their knees -- including tile layers -- are likely to experience swelling in the front portion of their knees. This is the result of constant friction from sliding across the floor and maneuvering around on the knees. This condition is known as prepatellar bursitis. Prepatellar bursitis can make it difficult for a tile layer to easily complete his job.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Prepatellar Bursitis

Prepatellar bursitis is also referred to as kneecap bursitis and affects the front portion of the kneecap. Continuous pressure on the kneecap can irritate a small sac known as the bursa. The bursa acts as lubrication when you move your knee. This allows for smooth, pain-free movements. When a tile layer is constantly moving around on his knees, the bursa can become inflamed. An inflamed bursa does not allow the knee to function as smoothly as it should.


If you have prepatellar bursitis, you are likely to experience more pain while you are laying tiles or participating in any other form of physical activity. This pain will likely subside when work is over for the day and you are at home resting. You may also notice rapid swelling in the front portion of the knee while working. Your knee may also be tender or feel warm to the touch.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you experience persistent knee pain or swelling, you should contact your doctor. Your doctor is likely to take an x-ray to rule out further damage to the knee. Prepatellar bursitis can be diagnosed through a physical examination. This condition is treated conservatively. Treatment includes resting the affected knee and applying ice to it -- three to four times per day for no more than 20 minutes at a time. You should also try to keep your leg elevated as much as possible. Your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications in order to help relieve the pain. If the pain and swelling persist, your doctor may opt to drain the bursa with a needle. If the pain and swelling become chronic, surgery can be performed to remove the bursa.


As a tile layer, the best way to prevent prepatellar bursitis is to wear knee pads. Knee pads can provide an extra layer of padding between you and the floor which can help reduce the friction that occurs in your knees. You should also try to get up and move around in between jobs in order to stretch your legs.