Common kneecap problems include chondromalacia patella, prepatellar bursitis and knee dislocation, according to About.com. Signs of kneecap problems typically include pain and swelling when sitting for long periods of time, kneeling, or walking up or down stairs.
Chondromalacia patella occurs when the cartilage located underneath the kneecap becomes damaged, explains Mayo Clinic. Injury, overuse or the inability to use knee and hip muscles correctly can cause chondromalacia patella. People at risk for developing this condition include young adults and adolescents, women and runners. Nonsurgical treatment options include physical therapy, knee taping, braces and over-the-counter pain medications. Surgical options include realignment or arthroscopy.
Prepatellar bursitis can occur when the bursa, a small sac located at the top of the kneecap, swells due to excessive fluid build-up, states the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Causes of prepatellar bursitis include bacterial infection, prolonged kneeling or injury to the kneecap. Treatment options include rest, ice, compression and elevation. Antibiotics can treat bacterial infections, while corticosteroid medications reduce pain and swelling.
Severe trauma to the kneecap can cause a dislocated knee, notes eMedicineHealth. A dislocated knee appears crooked or misaligned with the rest of the leg. To treat, a physician must reposition the lower leg to realign the kneecap. A person with a dislocate knee typically wears a brace or splint to prevent the knee from bending as it heals.