Chronic Knee Swelling Is Developing And Worsening Knee Osteoarthritis
In this video Danielle R. Steilen-Matias, MMS, PA-C offers a brief summary of the constant degenerative process going on in your knee that shows itself every day to you as swelling.
Summary and learning points:
- Many patients tell us that their other health care providers and doctors dismiss or ignore their complaints of knee swelling. However, as research suggests, such as the research examined in this article, is that chronic knee swelling signifies the early development of osteoarthritis.
- The reason the knee is swelling relates to the strength or integrity or lack thereof of the soft tissue around the knee. So the knee swelling can be coming from knee ligament injury or instability. Your body, in an attempt to provide stability for the unstable knee, will swell the knee as a protective mechanism to provide stability to the need temporarily. It should be temporary. Your body is swelling the knee until healing of an injury can take place. The fluid fills the knee to also prevent excessive movement to accelerate healing. When the injury is healed the swelling goes away.
- If you do a job that is very physically demanding, you are on your feet all day, you climb ladders or steps, etc, that is a lot of strain to be putting on your knees and your body does the best it can to provide the swelling necessary to keep your knee together. The problem is chronic swelling is causing a rapid degeneration in the knee.
Foods That Help Reduce Joint Pain
Ben Franklin was right when he said: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. We agree, so our orthopaedic specialists encourage patients to adopt dietary and exercise habits that support strong bones and joints.
Your everyday routine can have a big impact on the health and longevity of your joints. For example, choosing foods that build bone density, strengthen connective tissue and reduce inflammation can help you prevent injuries and preserve your joints for a long, active life.
We often see patients who are curious about making lifestyle changes to reduce joint pain. Yet our orthopaedic doctors recognize that its hard to change everything at once. Therefore, taking a look;at;your diet is a great place to start.
Heres our take on 10 foods that may;help reduce pain and increase mobility in the joints:
Can Knee Pain Come Back After Treatment
Frequently, knee pain will occur for a short period of time and then resolve. Sometimes it can return a few weeks or months later. For chronic knee pain, it is important to get it evaluated to avoid further damage to cartilage, bones, or ligaments. Prognosis depends on the underlying causes of the pain.
With modern surgical techniques, it’s possible to relieve many of the knee pain syndromes and return to an active lifestyle.
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Wearing The Proper Shoes Is Important For Healthy Knees
Supportive and comfortable shoes help take pressure off the knee joint by promoting proper leg alignment and balance. So it’s no surprise that wearing high heels is a common cause of knee pain.
“When high heels lift your heel up, your weight bearing line tips forward so your quadriceps have to work harder to hold your knee straight, which then leads to knee pain,” says Bush-Joseph. “Whereas, if your heel is closer to the floor in low pumps or flats, your thigh muscles don’t have to work as hard to maintain stability, which is easier on the knees.”
While strength training and stretching can help build up the muscles around the knees to minimize knee damage from heels, it’s best to save the stilettos for special occasions.
Proper shoes are particularly important during exercise. “If you are taking up running as a newbie or starting a new form of aerobic exercise, getting professionally fitted from someone at a running or sporting goods store can help with knee problems and will certainly lower your incidence of having overuse problems due to footwear,” says Bush-Joseph.
How To Use Pain Medications Properly
There are two types of over-the-counter pain medications that can be used for osteoarthritis. Acetaminophen is a pain reliever but not an anti-inflammatory. It may help with mild knee pain.
NSAIDs can be more effective because they both relieve pain and reduce inflammation. However, they come with potential side effects and risks. NSAIDs can irritate the lining of the stomach, which may lead to an ulcer or other stomach problems. They also can impair kidney function. Some NSAIDs can increase blood pressure. And theyve been linked to an increased risk for heart disease.
Because of the risks, Dr. Day cautions against using NSAIDs regularly over long periods of time. Instead, she uses NSAIDs for her patients in two ways. First, people who have a flare-up of pain can take them regularly for three to five days and then stop. Second, they can be used over the long term, but only occasionally, maybe a couple of times a week as needed.
If youre taking NSAIDs several times a day for long periods of time, Dr. Day advises reducing their use by maximizing the other treatment strategies. She also suggests trying a topical NSAID, such as diclofenac , which has fewer potential side effects.
Opioid pain relievers are discouraged for long-term treatment of chronic knee pain. The milder narcotic tramadol might be appropriate for occasional use in some people, says Dr. Day.
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What Are Knee Pain Symptoms And Signs
- Chronic use/overuse conditions: osteoarthritis, chondromalacia, IT band syndrome, patellar syndromes, tendinitis, and bursitis
Below is a list of some of the more common causes of knee pain. This is not an all-inclusive list but rather highlights a few common causes of knee pain in each of the above categories.
Acute knee injuries
Fractures: A direct blow to the bony structure can cause one of the bones in the knee to break. This is usually a very obvious and painful knee injury. Most knee fractures are not only painful but will also interfere with the proper functioning of the knee or make it very painful to bear weight . All fractures need immediate medical attention. Many fractures require significant force, and a thorough examination is performed to detect other injuries.
Ligament injuries: The most common injury is the ACL injury. An ACL injury is often a sports-related injury due to a sudden stop and change in directions. The remaining ligaments are injured less frequently.
Meniscus injuries: The menisci are made of cartilage and act as shock absorbers between bones in the knee. Twisting the knee can injure the meniscus.
Dislocation: The knee joint can be dislocated, which is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention. Knee dislocation can compromise blood flow to the leg and have other related problems. This injury often occurs during a motor-vehicle accident when the knee hits the dashboard.
How Do I Treat Knee Inflammation
People who suffer from knee inflammation can have debilitating pain that interferes with daily activities. Inflammation in the knee occurs when fluid builds up under the kneecap and joints causing swelling and discomfort. This often results from an injury to the knee, bursitis or some type of degenerative disease. Individuals have several different options when considering how to treat inflammation of the knee.
The best way to decrease swelling and inflammation is to rest the knee. Doctors suggest that patients with knee problems immediately stop all activities that put pressure on the knee and keep the leg elevated. Patients can resume normal activities once released from a doctors care. Most people notice improvement in pain and tenderness after a few days of rest.
Patients can also have their knee wrapped with a bandage or protective brace to stabilize the knee and possibly prevent further damage. A physician or sports trainer can recommend a type of brace depending on the type of injury that caused the inflammation. Some people may also need crutches to go along with the brace.
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How Long Does It Take For Knee Swelling To Go Down
How soon swelling goes away depends on what caused it.
If it happened after doing too much physical activity, it could take a few days if you follow the steps above.
For tears of the ligaments or meniscus, its best to ask your doctor for individual details.
For rheumatoid arthritis, the swelling sadly comes and goes. Its best to treat the flare-ups with medication.
Don’t Skip The Exercise Even If You Have A Structural Problem
The key is to know your limits. Strength training that focuses heavily on building up muscles in the quadriceps and hamstrings can decrease pain and help people better tolerate arthritis and other structural knee problems. Staying active helps control weight and build muscle, both of which can help protect your knees from further damage.
The best exercises for people with structural knee problems include nonimpact aerobic exercises, such as walking on level ground, training on an elliptical machine, using a stationary bike, swimming and doing water aerobics. Its also wise to avoid activities that put extra stress on the knees such as kneeling, deep knee bends and downhill running.
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What Are The Complications Of Knee Pain
Frequently, knee pain will disappear without ever finding a specific cause. Depending on the underlying cause of the pain, the condition can progress and lead to more serious injuries or complications. Usually, these complications are long term and result in worsening pain or an increasing difficulty to walk.
What Natural Home Remedies Relieve Knee Pain
Over-the-counter pain medications can frequently alleviate the pain. If someone is taking these medications on a regular basis, he or she should see a health care professional to evaluate the knee pain for proper diagnosis and to avoid the potential side effects of chronic medication use.
The RICE mnemonic is often helpful, especially for minor injuries:
Rest: Rest the joint, and take a break from your usually activities involving the knee joint.
Ice: Applying ice can help with pain and inflammation.
Compress: A compression bandage can help prevent swelling and help knee alignment. It should not be tight and should be removed at night.
Elevate: Elevation can help with swelling and resting of the knee.
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Symptoms Of Knee Pain
The symptoms of knee problems can vary and will depend upon the cause and severity. However, knee pain is common.
Sudden pain in the knee can occur if you overuse it or injure it.
Instability and weakness in the knee, or the feeling that your knee is about to give way, is a common knee problem.
Other symptoms may include stiffness, popping sounds, locking of the joint and inability to straighten the knee, depending on the cause.
Sign Up For Physical Therapy
Some people with osteoarthritis respond to acupuncture, especially those with arthritis of the knee or spine, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Traditional Chinese acupuncture is also one of the nondrug approaches recommended by the American College of Rheumatology.
Acupuncture combined with moxibustion, a technique that involves burning the herb mugwort close to the skin, is a course of Chinese medical treatment for osteoarthritis, says;Ming Jin, MD, PhD, an acupuncturist and founder of the Ming Qi Natural Healthcare Center in New York City. Moxibustion can be as effective as oral medications for treating knee arthritis, according to a study published in the journal;Medicine;in February 2016. Your treatment should be tailored to your disease stage and may include acupuncture, acupressure, and moxibustion, Jin notes.
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Inflammation Comes Before Cartilage Breakdown Inflammation Therefore Causes Bone On Bone Not The Other Way Around
Here is what this paper said:
- . . . our results suggest that inflammation of the synovium, which occurs prior to cartilage degradation, is an early event during osteoarthritis initiation and progression.
- Note: Inflammation comes before cartilage breakdown. Inflammation, therefore, causes bone on bone, not the other way around.
What Are The Signs Of Arthritis
- Joint becomes stiff and swollen, making it difficult to bend and straighten the knee
- Pain and swelling is worse after sitting or resting for long periods of time
- Vigorous activity increases levels of pain
- Deformities of the knee
- Loose fragments of cartilage and other tissue may interfere, causing the knee to lock or stick during movement
- Feelings of weakness and buckling of the knee, poor range of motion
Diagnosing your knee arthritis early can help you seek treatment and therapies that relieve pain and preserve your ability to move without pain or difficulty. Knee pain can also indicate that you have osteoporosis, in which your bones lose their density and become more fragile. This condition can cause pain and discomfort similar to that caused by arthritis. If knee pain is interfering with daily activities more frequently, see your doctor as soon as possible to test for more serious conditions.
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Torn Acl Symptoms And Signs
With an acute injury, the patient often describes that they heard a loud pop and then developed intense pain in the knee. The pain makes walking or weight-bearing very difficult. The knee joint will begin to swell within a few hours because of bleeding within the joint, making it difficult to straighten the knee.
Quick Recap: Reasons For Knee Injuries
As the largest joint in the body, knees are involved in almost every movement. Like all hinged joints, they bend, straighten, and carry the weight of your body together with your ankles and hips. Knees can do more, though. Because of the ligaments, tendons, and cartilage surrounding the bones of your knee joint, you can also twist and rotate.
Unfortunately, your knees are also highly susceptible to injury. According to WebMD, knee pain is the top musculoskeletal problem that causes people to look for medical advice or visit their doctor. There are several reasons for knees being so vulnerable.;
The fact that knees are being used so much makes them more likely to develop a problem. There is a very fine line between using and overusing. The sheer number of parts of the knee joint is another cause for problems. With so many parts, there are simply more things that can go wrong.;
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Surgical Treatments For Ra Knee Pain
If your RA symptoms do not respond to lifestyle changes or medicines and your quality of life has been impacted by your rheumatoid arthritis, your doctor might recommend surgery. The type of surgery used depends on how severely your joints are damaged. Surgeries include:2
- Synovectomy During this procedure, the surgeon removes the synovium, the thin membrane that lines the joints
- Osteotomy During this procedure, either the tibia or femur is cut and reshaped to reduce pressure on the knee joint
- Total or partial knee replacement During this procedure, a surgeon removes your damaged cartilage and bone, then positions new metal or plastic parts
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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What Does 18 Months Of Continued Inflammation Do To Your Knee When You Have A Meniscus Tear
Early in January 2019, the same research team published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology a study of 221 patients with knee osteoarthritis and meniscal tear. They examined these patients over a time period of 18 months.
- effusion-synovitis was persistently minimal in 45.3% and persistently extensive in 21.3% of the patients.
- The remaining 33.5% of the patients had minimal synovitis on one occasion and extensive synovitis on the other.
- Patients with extensive effusion-synovitis at baseline ; persistently extensive effusion-synovitis had a significantly increased risk of progression of cartilage damage depth. .
Additions To Your Diet
Add these high-quality foods to your diet. They can help to fill nutritional gaps and reduce joint pain:
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