What To Expect At Your Office Visit
Your provider will perform a physical exam, and look at your knees, hips, legs, and other joints.
Your provider may do the following tests:
- MRI of the knee if a ligament or meniscus tear could be the cause
- CT scan of the knee
- Joint fluid culture
Your provider may inject a steroid into your knee to reduce pain and inflammation.
You may need to learn stretching and strengthening exercises. You also may need to see a podiatrist to be fitted for orthotics.
In some cases, you may need surgery.
Knee Pain Relief After An Injury
The standard TLC to ease swelling is known as RICE, which stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons . The secret is to do this immediatelydon’t wait.
Step 1: Rest
To keep from making the swelling worse, you need to take all stress off the joint by getting off your feet. If you injured your knee during any type of activity, stop immediately. Stay off your feet as much as possible while you wait for the swelling to go down. Give sore knees a break!
Step 2: Ice
Cold helps reduce pain, inflammation and swelling. Grab an ice pack or, even better, a package of frozen vegetables like peas that will mold to the shape of your knee. Wrap the ice source in a towel to protect your skin, and place it on the affected knee for 20 minutes. Do this several times over the course of a few hours.
Step 3: Compression
Wrap your knee in an elastic or compression bandage or sleeve. This helps prevent further swelling and stabilizes the joint. The bandage should feel snug but not tight. If your toes begin to tingle or feel numb, remove the bandage and re-wrap it.
Step 4: Elevation
Position the affected knee so that it’s higher than your heart. This helps fluid drain away from the knee. Prop up your leg with pillows in bed or place it on the arm of your sofa when lying down.
Read more:Swelling of the Knee After Exercise
Read more:How to Reduce Excess Fluid in the Knee
Can You Prevent Knee Pain
There can be many reasons for knee pain. Therefore, there are different strategies to prevent the pain depending on the underlying cause. Running on soft surfaces or decreasing the amount of running can help if the pain is due to overuse. Avoiding any direct injuries to the knee including wearing a seatbelt can prevent traumatic injuries. Weight loss can be helpful for many different forms of knee pain.
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How To Get Rid Of Unused Opioids
Do not keep unused medicine in case you think you may need it. Having it in the house where other adults, children or pets could reach it is unsafe.
- To get rid of unused opioids, bring them to a drop-off location or to an Allina Health Pharmacy. To find a location near you:
- Minnesota: Go to pca.state.mn.us and type household hazardous waste in the search box.
- Wisconsin: Go to dnr.wi.gov and type health care waste in the search box.
When To Contact A Medical Professional
- You cannot bear weight on your knee.
- You have severe pain, even when not bearing weight.
- Your knee buckles, clicks, or locks.
- Your knee is deformed or misshapen.
- You cannot flex your knee or have trouble straightening it all the way out.
- You have a fever, redness or warmth around the knee, or a lot of swelling.
- You have pain, swelling, numbness, tingling, or bluish discoloration in the calf below the sore knee.
- You still have pain after 3 days of home treatment.
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How To Take Opioid Medicine
- Take the medicine as directed by your health care provider.
- Eat before you take the medicine.
- Drink plenty of water with the medicine.
- Write down when you take the medicine and how many pills you take.
- Do not drive when you are taking the medicine. The medicine will affect your ability to make decisions or react quickly.
- Do not drink alcohol when you are taking the medicine.
- Use it only for the first few days or weeks when the pain is most intense. Talk with your health care provider for a taper plan.
- Put your opioid medicine in a secure place to prevent others from using it.
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What Medical Conditions Cause Knee Pain
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that can affect any joint in the body. It can cause severe pain and disability, as well as swelling.
Gout is a form of arthritis that is most commonly found in the big toe, though it can also affect the knee. Gout tends to flare up and is extremely painful during the acute episodes. When there is no flare-up, the knee can be pain free.
With , the knee joint can become infected this leads to pain, swelling, and fever. This condition requires antibiotics and drainage treatments as soon as possible.
Chronic use/overuse conditions
Patellar tendinitis is an inflammation of the tendons connecting the kneecap to the shinbone . Patellar tendinitis is a chronic condition often found in individuals repeating the same motion during exercise .
Patellofemoral pain syndrome is caused by degeneration or stress under the kneecap where it meets the thighbone . Patellofemoral pain syndrome occurs in runners and cyclists.
Osteoarthritis: a wearing down of cartilage of the joint due to use and age
Prepatellar bursitis: Inflammation to the bursa in front of the kneecap may cause anterior knee pain.
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Think About How It Happened
While you are working to treat a swollen knee, you need to consider how it happened. Often it is related so some kind of impact injury falling or wrenching the joint. It could also be related to a food, medication or weather pattern.
The more you can try to identify the cause, the better able you will be to prevent it from happening again.
Reduce Knee Swelling With These 5 Amazing Home Remedies
Do you suffer from swelling in your knees? The anti-inflammatory properties of these natural remedies can be a huge help both internally and externally to reduce knee swelling.
Inflammation and swelling in knees is a condition that can come from joint or bone diseases. These can include injuries and premature wearing out.
Sometimes, when the knee is inflamed and increases in temperature, it causes a condition known as a joint effusion. The main characteristic is the accumulation of synovial joint fluid.
This fluid is present in the majority of your joints. Even though its necessary for their lubrication, too much of this fluid makes your joints take up more space and increase inflammation.
This situation can become rather painful. This is especially true when you dont take the necessary steps to fight it quickly and effectively.
Fortunately, some compounds have anti-inflammatory properties. Thanks to this, we can make some natural anti-inflammatory remedies to speed up recuperation.
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What If I Need Surgery On My Swollen Knee
Depending on your situation, surgery can range from arthroscopic surgery to replacing the knee joint with an artificial one.
Arthroscopic surgery uses a tiny camera that is part of an instrument called an arthroscope. It can be used as a tool for diagnosis as well as for treatment, and is usually an outpatient procedure . Depending on the type of surgery, physician therapy is often recommended afterward to restore mobility and strength in your knee.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/03/2018.
Symptoms Of A Swollen Knee
- Swelling: The skin around the knee will swell up at a noticeable rate. Compare it to your other knee to see the difference.
- Stiffness: Your ability to straighten or bend your knee fully can be affected if excess fluid builds up.
- Pain: Depending on the root cause of the excess build up, you may experience severe pain in the knee joint, to the point where putting any weight on it will be unbearable.
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How To Manage Swelling After The Total Knee Replacement Surgery
Swelling is a normal part of the healing process after total knee replacement surgery. According to data from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, it is normal for people to experience moderate to severe swelling in the first couple of days or even weeks following the surgery and continue to experience mild to moderate swelling for at least three to six months after the surgery.
You can decrease the swelling by practicing some post-operative exercises that your medical team will show you. Using compression stocking and keeping your leg elevated for several hours each day can help reduce the swelling significantly. However, keep in mind that you should never do any type of exercise after knee surgery without consulting your doctor.
You can also buy a good quality ice pack. Cold compresses or ice packs will prove to be very useful after a total knee replacement. They help reduce the inflammation and swelling in the knee joint and the surrounding tissue and may also provide relief from the pain.
Your doctor may advise you to use an ice pack three to four times in a day for at approximately 15 to 20 minutes each time. If you do not see any improvement or if you want to use the ice pack for a longer time, you should consult your physical therapist or doctor. After a couple of weeks have passed, applying heat to the area may also help.
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How Is Pseudogout Diagnosed
If your doctor thinks you have pseudogout, they may recommend the following tests:
- an analysis of joint fluid by removing the fluid from the joint to look for calcium pyrophosphate crystals
- X-rays of the joints to check for any damage to the joint, calcification of the cartilage, and deposits of calcium in the joint cavities
- MRI or CT scans to look for areas of calcium buildup
- ultrasound also to look for areas of calcium buildup
Looking at the crystals found in the joint cavities helps your doctor make a diagnosis.
This condition shares symptoms with other conditions, so it may sometimes be misdiagnosed as:
Theres currently no treatment available to get rid of the crystal deposits.
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Knee Replacement Recovery Timeline
Most patients are discharged one day after surgery. On your discharge day, you may be able to stand and walk out of your hospital room, or you may need assistance with walking, which is completely normal. In the weeks following, most patients gradually expand their physical abilities. Every case is unique. Your surgeon and your physical therapist will coordinate to progress you as quickly as possible. Although everyone progressed at a different pace based on numerous factors, some common timeframes are:
- 3 weeks after surgery: At this point, you should be able to walk for more than 10 minutes at a time, without a walker or crutches. Your physical therapist may challenge you to go on longer walks and stop using an assistive device like a cane.
- 6 weeks after surgery: Between weeks 4 and 6, you may be able to start driving again, if your doctor clears you.
- 12 weeks after surgery: Typical physical therapy programs last for up to 12 weeks. At this point, you should be able to walk for several blocks at a time and may even be able to pick up hobbies like swimming and cycling. As your therapy program ends around the 12-week mark, stick with your walking schedule and gradually challenge yourself to walk further and longer.
- One year after surgery: You will continue to make progress for an entire year after knee replacement. By this time, your knee should reach its full strength and you should be able to return to most activities.
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Ice Or Heat: Which Is Best For A Swollen Knee
Knee pain is one of the most common and debilitating joint issues, affecting millions of people on a daily basis. Whether the pain is caused by an acute injury like a tear or overuse, or its the result of too much weight or regular wear and tear, there are a number of structures in the knee joint itself that can be the source of the pain. Weve all heard of icing for pain, but sometimes, heat is a much better source of relief. When it comes to painful, swollen knee treatments, which is best, ice or heat?
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This Question Is Asked By Many Patients And May Be Applied To Many Joints Such As Ankles Hands And Elbows For The Weeks Following The Initial Injury Or Surgical Intervention
This question is asked by many patients and may be applied to many joints such as ankles, hands, and elbows for the weeks following the initial injury or surgical intervention.
Edema is the physiological response to a chemical imbalance within the cells and tissues of the body. This chemical imbalance may be caused by a mechanical stress put on the tissue or a pathological process going on within the body . Swelling is the term we use to describe the abnormal enlargement or protuberance we visualize as the result of edema or excessive fluid within a body cavity or joint region.
The above question references swelling as a result of mechanical stress. In fact, this patient had a total knee replacement which involves significant mechanical stress to the entire knee complex. If you dont believe me check out this video on total knee replacement:
When an injury occurs, various tissues are mechanically stressed and thus weakened. Lets take the total knee replacement noted above. The initial insult to the tissue starts when the skin and soft tissue is intruded with the incision and separation of tissue and muscle to expose the actual knee joint. The bone is mechanically stressed with a drill, saw, and hammer as noted in the video and the end result is major tissue disruption with subsequent swelling, which can become problematic if not controlled with ice, elevation, compression, and muscle activation.
If it doesnt challenge you, it wont change you!
What Kind Of Physical Therapist Do I Need
All physical therapists are prepared through education and experience to treat knee bursitis. However, you may want to consider:
- A physical therapist who is experienced in treating people with orthopedic injuries. Some physical therapists have a practice with an orthopedic focus.
- A physical therapist who is a board-certified clinical specialist, or who completed a residency or fellowship in orthopedic or sports physical therapy. This therapist has advanced knowledge, experience, and skills that may apply to your condition.
You can find physical therapists who have these and other credentials by using Find a PT, the online tool built by the American Physical Therapy Association to help you search for physical therapists with specific clinical expertise in your geographic area.
General tips when you’re looking for a physical therapist :
- Get recommendations from family and friends or from other health care providers.
- When you contact a physical therapy clinic for an appointment, ask about the physical therapists’ experience in helping people who have your type of injury.
- Be prepared to describe your symptoms in as much detail as possible, and say what makes your symptoms worse.
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How To Care For A Swollen Knee
When does a swollen knee require medical care, and when can it be treated at home? Mild to moderate knee swelling and knee effusionsometimes called water on the kneecan usually be treated at home. Medical attention is recommended if the knee is persistently swollen or accompanied by severe pain or other serious symptoms.
Read on to learn when to contact a doctor, how to treat a swollen knee at home, and how doctors can remove fluid from a knee using a process called aspiration.
The Problems Of Excess Weight And Obesity Causes More Inflammation
When we suggest to the patient that their knee can benefit from weight loss, we typically hear, I know, I know, or I have been trying. These are the typical responses of someone who has tried to lose weight and is tired of being lectured. Weight gain, like knee osteoarthritis, is a slow methodical problem that cannot be made to go away overnight. To lose weight you must find the inner motivation to do so. Maybe research can help.
In July 2020, researchers writing in the medical journal Skeletal Radiology looked at three patient groups. All the patients had knee osteoarthritis. The three groups were: people with normal weight people who were overweight people who were obese. What they were looking for was a relationship between excess weight and increases knee inflammation. Here are the results:
- Being overweight or obese was significantly associated with a greater prevalence and severity of synovial inflammation imaging biomarkers. Substantial reproducibility and high correlation with knee structural, cartilage compositional degeneration, and pain scores validate the synovial inflammation biomarkers used in this study.
What does all this mean? The more weight, the more inflammation, the more pain, the greater the need for medication, the greater the knee pain, the greater the eventual need for knee replacement.
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