Tips To Improve Your Swollen Knee
Knee swelling is a major concern for athletes young and old. Understanding their swollen knee is an important step to decreasing their pain and regaining their ability to be active & healthy.
When it comes to knee swelling and pain, many view it as the chicken or the egg dilemma: Is my knee pain creating the swelling in my knee or is the swelling the source of my knee pain?
Thats a great question and Ill show you a whole new way of looking at your knees to help you quickly answer that question. Understanding the swelling in your knee is the first step in taking control of your knees.
Its time for you to stop handing over the responsibility for keeping your knees happy to your doctor, your personal trainer and/or your insurance company. Those hinges halfway down your legs are YOUR knees. Let me show you simple tips to determine the source of your knee swelling and what to do about reducing your knee pain.
It bothers me when I hear individuals say things such as
I have a swollen knee and no one can tell me why!
I cant run any more because I have a bad knee.
My doctor told me to stop running because I have arthritis. Now Ive put on 20 lbs and my swollen knee pain is killing me!
Medication Not Your First Option
Thanks to Amazon you can now buy 500 Ibuprofen for less thatn 10$. We put medication at the bottom of our list simply because its our least favorite, but we want to mention it because it does work. Anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofen do reduce swelling but we caution against long term use do to risk of impaired kidney function and increased cardiovascular event risk. Always check with your physician if you are already taking other medications to watch for potentially dangerous drug interactions.
Treatments For Pain In The Back Of Your Knee
Healthcare providers usually treat pain in the back of your knee based on the underlying cause of the pain or injury.
Rest, ice, compression, and elevation
If you have sudden, intense pain in the back of your knee, the doctor may recommend that you rest and apply ice to your knee. In some cases, your doctor may also ask you to elevate your leg while youre sitting down to help improve the blood flow in your leg.
Exercise and physical therapy
Some exercises can help build muscle and relieve pain in the back of your knee. It is important to work with your doctor or physical therapist to determine which exercises are right for you so you can avoid potential injury.
Your doctor may ask you to make some lifestyle changes to help relieve pain in the back of your knee. This could include things like maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding activities like running or placing too much pressure on the knees.
Genicular nerve blocks
This medical treatment blocks pain signals between the knee and the brain, which offers relief from pain in the back of your knee. This is a nonsurgical option done by injecting an anesthetic into the affected area.
Peripheral nerve stimulation
This is a medical procedure where a surgeon puts electrodes and a battery pack near the nerves inside the knee. This creates an electrical current that tricks the body into turning off pain signals, which relieves pain in and around the knee.
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These Problems Are Getting Worse Despite Years Of Medications
When we see a patient in our clinic with knee swelling, we ask, what have you been taking for this?
Typically the first line of treatment will include the use of anti-inflammatory drugs. The list includes many familiar names, medications you may already be on as well.
- Most common : aspirin, ibuprofen , naproxen
- Prescriptions: celecoxib, diclofenac indomethacin, oxaprozin , piroxicam
Tip #4 Reduce The Swelling Before You Increase The Strength
Always remember this: If your knee is swollen, your brain is telling your quad muscles to limit their strength. Its simplly a protective mechanism to reduce the stress on the knee joint. Therefore, reducing your knee swelling will immediately increase your leg strength! Conversely, anything that you do that increases your knee swelling will be reducing your quadriceps strength.
The goal for smart athletes: Decrease knee effusion while increasing quad strength.
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Do Gentle Exercises With Your Knees
Try this exercise a few times throughout the day to reduce the swelling:
- Lie down and extend the injured knee with a pillow or a towel under the joint.
- Then, try to push the pillow against the bed with the backside of your knee joint. This will activate your quadriceps muscles.
- Repeat 10-15 times, holding it for a few seconds.
This is called a quadriceps setting exercise which, as you might have guessed, works the quadriceps one of the biggest muscles that support your knee.
Doing this will increase the blood flow to your knee and help to get rid of the inflammation.
Knee Swelling After Meniscus Surgery
Many people may experience swelling around the knee as a result of their meniscus surgery. While this can be concerning, swelling can also be a normal part of the healing process. It is important to understand swelling, how to reduce swelling and when to recognize if it is problematic after meniscus repair surgery.
People in need of knee meniscus surgery are likely people who have a torn or ruptured meniscus. This article serves to provide information on torn meniscus, meniscus surgery and knee swellinga common complaint after knee meniscus surgery.
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What Is Knee Bursitis
Knee bursitis occurs when 1 or more of the many bursae becomes damaged, irritated, or inflamed. Normally, a bursa acts as a cushion or friction-reducer between 2 body parts, such as between bone and skin, or bone and ligament or tendon. Bursae on the front of the knee serve as cushions between the knee cap and skin, and between the patellar tendon and tibia bone. Prolonged pressure or traumatic blows can injure a bursa, and repetitive motions can cause irritating friction on it, leading to the development of bursitis. In fact, “itis” means “inflammation.” When the bursa is injured, it can swell and become painful.
Knee bursitis can be caused by:
- Repetitive motions, including certain sports, such as running.
- Prolonged kneeling, as when cleaning floors, installing flooring, or praying in a kneeling position.
- Prolonged crawling, such as when laying carpet or flooring, or scrubbing floors.
- Direct trauma, such as being hit or falling on the knee.
- Knee surgery or knee joint replacement.
What Should I Be Doing In The Early Stages Of My Recovery
- Continue your exercise program and increase activity gradually your goal is to regain strength and function.
- Follow all therapy instructions.
- Resume activity as you gain strength and confidence.
- For total knee replacement, swelling of the knee or leg is common with an abrupt increase in activity. If this occurs, elevate the leg above the level of your heart , and apply ice directly to the knee. You may continue with elevation and icing as needed to help decrease swelling and discomfort.
- Continued exercise at this early stage is important to achieve the best outcome with your new joint replacement. Based on your needs, your therapy may be continued at home or in an outpatient setting of your choice. You will be given an exercise program to continue exercising at home.
Dont sit for longer than 30 to 45 minutes at a time. Use chairs with arms. You may nap if you are tired, but do not stay in bed all day. Frequent, short walks either indoors or outdoors are the key to a successful recovery.
You may experience discomfort in your operated hip or knee, and you may have difficulty sleeping at night. This is part of the recovery process. Getting up and moving around relieves some of the discomfort.
You should climb stairs with support. Climb one step at a time good leg up bad leg down. Hold on to a railing, if available.
When youre a passenger in a car, sit on a firm cushion or folded blanket to avoid sitting too low.
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Localized Symptoms That May Occur Along With Behind Knee Swelling
Behind knee swelling may accompany other localized symptoms including:
- Bleeding or bruising
- Instability of the joint
- Muscle or spasm
- Pain, whether at rest or during specific movements, that may be described as dull, sharp, burning, stabbing or aching
- Redness and warmth of the skin
- Reduced mobility
- Visible deformity of the affected joint
How The Location And Type Of Tear Affect Healing
Where a meniscus tear occurs is one of the most important things that affects healing. Tears at the outer edge tend to heal well because there is a good blood supply. The inner area lacks a good blood supply and therefore does not heal well.
The type of tear often determines whether a tear can be repaired. Longitudinal tears are often repairable. Radial tears may be repairable depending on where they are located. Oblique tears and another type called horizontal tears are generally not repairable.
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How To Manage Pain After Knee Replacement Surgery
This article was medically reviewed by Eric Christensen, DPT. Eric Christensen is a Physical Therapist based in Chandler, Arizona. With over a decade of experience, Eric works in both orthopedic and neurological fields and specializes in custom orthotic prescription and casting, vestibular reprogramming, and manual therapy. He holds a Bachelors degree in Exercise Science with a focus in Sports Medicine from Colorado State University and a Doctor of Physical Therapy from Regis University. In practice, Eric takes a developmental approach to rehabilitation utilizing the Selective Functional Movement Assessment. He uses functional movement patterning and manual therapy to return patients to prior levels of function.There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, several readers have written to tell us that this article was helpful to them, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 139,135 times.
Cinese Patch For How To Reduce Swelling
The physician asked me if there was anything in particular I had done to reduce the swelling and bruising so quickly as there was quite a bit of swelling and bruising the day or two after surgery but very little 9 days out. The only thing I could think of that really made a difference with the swelling and bruising besides icing it three times a day, was that Chinese patch. Every place I put the Chinese patch there would be a square where the bruising would completely disappear. So I just kept moving the patch around to different places on my leg until most of the bruising was gone.
They asked me to bring them one of the patches at my next appointment.
My only beef with the surgeon who I think is amazing, was that he didnt remove the Bakers cyst from behind my knee. I brought that up in the session and he explained that the Bakers cyst would in fact go away. That currently it was quite large because it was draining the blood from the surgery which was normal. But that ultimately it would no longer have synovial fluid leaking and therefore it would simply disappear. I cant wait until that happens because the Bakers cyst is what causes most of the pain behind my knee. He said normally he would say anywhere from 3 to 6 months but given the rapid progression of my recovery, the Bakers cyst might be gone in the next month or two. Fingers crossed!
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Diagnosis Of Pain Behind The Knee
Your doctor will examine your knee and take a history, asking about:
- the type of pain you have, when it started and whether it comes and goes
- how active you are
- any activity, accident or injury that could have caused it
If you have signs of a popliteal cyst, your doctor may suggest an ultrasound scan. If they suspect a posterior cruciate ligament injury, they may suggest an X-ray or a magnetic resonance imaging scan.
Pain Behind The Knee: Causes And How To Treat Back Of Knee Pain
Pain behind the knee can have a serious impact on your daily activities. Sharp pain at the back of your knee can affect walking and cause discomfort when standing or walking up stairs. Pain and swelling behind the knee can also cause stiffness in your knee joint, inflammation, and possibly, a lump at the back of your knee.
There are many reasons for mild to severe pain behind the knee. For example, a ligament tear, a pulled muscle, fracture to a bone in your knee, or wear and tear can also cause varying degrees of pain behind the knee. The knee pain can cause you to limp, make it difficult to walk, or you may not be able to bend your knee at all.
Knowing how to treat pain behind the knee requires knowing what is causing it. However, usually, hot and cold treatments can help to restore mobility to your knee joint and ease the pain. In some cases, if the leg pain behind the knee is caused by blood clot or cyst, you need to get it checked out by a doctor.
In this article, you will learn about the various reasons why you could have pain at the back of your knee.
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What Is Pain In The Back Of Your Knee
When people experience pain in the back of the knee, it is commonly referred to as posterior knee pain. This type of pain can be caused by many different things and can occur suddenly or gradually over time. A doctor can help diagnose the root cause of the pain in the back of your knee to help you find relief.
What Causes Knee Swelling
Basically, a swollen knee is a symptom of excess fluid in or around your knee joint. Doctors typically refer to this as effusion in your knee joint.
You may also hear the term water on the knee used to describe the fluid build-up. This can be caused by many different things including trauma, overuse injuries, as well as underlying diseases or conditions that you may have.
To determine the cause of the swelling in the knee the doctor may opt to take a fluid sample for testing.
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What If You Ice Your Knee
Putting an ice pack on top of your knee is one of the most common home remedies to manage the swelling and other symptoms of a fresh injury.
Its become popular due to the RICE method: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Nowadays, athletes use cold therapy after games to help with recovery.
However, some research suggests that this might suppress the immune systems response that heals the tissues in the first place. So, it might be best to use ice only if youre experiencing severe pain.
Do this in bouts of ~10 minutes, 2-3 times per day to allow your tissue-repairing cells to do their job.
But if you have knee osteoarthritis, try using a heating pad instead.
If You Have A Lot Of Swelling Hyaluronic Acid Is Really Not Going To Help
You have a lot of swelling and pressure in your knee because you have too much water on the knee or in reality too much synovial fluid. That is a simple explanation. Many people find relief when this fluid is drained. So will people find relief if more fluid is added? It seems counterproductive for knee pain relief. This is why there is a debate over the long-term effectiveness of hyaluronic acid injections for knee osteoarthritis. We are only going to present one study here, please see our article: Research and reviews of Hyaluronic injections for Knee Osteoarthritis for more on this topic.
Getting back to the question above does injecting hyaluronic acid, putting more synovial type fluid in your knee, work when you already have an overabundance of this fluid? For some, the answer is yes it helps. For others, it does not help.
A January 2021 study in the medical journal Rheumatology explains it. What the researchers in this study set out to do was to determine whether ultrasound-detected synovitis affects the therapeutic efficacy of hyaluronic acid injection for treating knee osteoarthritis.
- The 137 patients in this study received hyaluronic acid injection two times at 2-week intervals.
- Initially, all the patients were helped. However, the patients who had ultrasound detected suprapatellar effusion had greatly reduced benefits from the injections.
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Everything In The Knee Affects The Ligaments And The Ligaments Affect Everything In The Knee Undetected Micro Ligament Damage Causes Swelling
Ligaments function primarily to maintain smooth joint motion, restrain excessive joint displacement, and provide stability across the knee joint. When the forces to which ligaments are subjected are too great , failure occurs, resulting in drastic changes in the structure and physiology of the joint. In your knee, it is causing a lot of swelling and functional instability.
Above we discussed research that suggested that the patient did not realize how bad their knee was and that is why they had chronic swelling. Knee instability and swelling can be caused by microdamage which causes instability that is not easily seen on MRI and is difficult to determine in a knee examination? Why because when the whole knee is in failure, it is hard to see the little things. Like micro-tearing of the knee ligaments. One thing is easy to see however, that is the result of micro ligament damage also referred to as ligament laxity.