Swelling in the knee, also known as knee effusion or water on the knee, occurs when fluid collects around the knee joint. Swelling can occur due to many different reasons and apply to all ages of patients.
While some reasons for swelling can be treated with over-the-counter medication, persistent and constant swelling can lead to tissue damage, bone softening, and cartilage loss.
The quick answer to what does it mean if my knee is swollen, is that if swelling is accompanied by constant pain and other issues, it is advised to seek medical attention. The following information will include common reasons to explain what does it mean when my knee is swollen. Below are common treatment methods and when it is advised to contact a doctor. Read this article about knee pain and 5 Knee Symptoms You Should not Ignore
So often in physical therapy, patients ask us "what does it mean if my knee is swollen?"
If you would like to learn more about the anatomy of the knee, please watch this video.
You should utilize the RICE Protocol. This Protocol consist of:
Another treatment option is activity modification and over-the-counter medications.
Swelling from within the knee joint can cause the area above the knee to appear swollen. This can be from several different injuries. It can be from injuries to the ACL, meniscus or even from a strain or tear to the patellar tendon or quad. The VMO muscle will not function or contract if there is swelling present in this area. It is very important to ice this area if swelling is present.
With those that have a history of osteoarthritis and swelling after strenuous activity, like a workout or run, over-the-counter medications will help alleviate the pain. Patient may also apply compression sleeves to decrease the swelling during and after activity. Another way to decrease swelling at home is to use the R.I.C.E. Protocol: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
Rest the joint and refrain from hard workouts, sports, and prolonged activity for 24-48 hours. Normal range of motion should continue to decrease joint stiffening.
Ice can be applied to the knee 3-4 times a day for 15-20 minutes at a time. Ice should never be applied directly to the skin.
An ace bandage, compression sleeve or socks may not only reduce swelling already present, but may limit knee swelling during activity.
Reducing blood flow to the area by sitting with the leg on a stool or lying down with the foot on a pillow, will reduce swelling.
In most cases with swollen knees, minimal to moderate knee swelling can be taken care of at home. The quick answer is the following cases are reasons to contact doctor:
If one is uncertain about whether the swelling is serious or not, calling a doctor is a good decision to avoid future damage and resolve an issue within the joint. Hopefully, this article has given you some reasons for "What does it mean if my knee is swollen?". If the swelling does not go away for an extended period of time, it is probably time to see a JOI Orthopedic Knee Specialist.
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