When Should I Worry About A Swollen Knee
Knee swelling happens when fluid collects in or around the joint of a knee. Another term for a swollen knee is knee effusion or water on the knee. If knee swelling persists for more than three days, if swelling worsens, or if you experience severe pain alongside the swelling, seek the advice of a medical professional.
Stiff Knee But No Pain Here Are Some Possible Causes
Stiffness, or difficulty moving and extending, is a common problem for joints across the body, especially as we age. Since our knees bear so much weight and are essential to movement, stiffness here is a very common issue. While occasional stiffness in the morning or after a bout of physical activity is normal and typically nothing to be concerned about, people experiencing knee stiffness on a regular basis should seek professional treatment.
Even if your stiffness is not painful, it is still important to be proactive about seeking care. While it can be easy to discount a stiff knee with no pain as not serious, it can potentially become painful if it is allowed to progress. As you seek diagnosis and treatment for your knee stiffness, having an understanding of possible causes can be helpful.
Were always here to help. Dont hesitate to reach out with any questions as you look over the following information.
Lateral Collateral Ligament Injury
The lateral collateral ligament is one of the four main ligaments of the knee. It connects the outer side of the femur and tibia and is primarily responsible for stabilizing the outer aspect of the knee.
An LCL injury is often the result of a blow to the inside part of the knee this causes the LCL to stretch beyond normal and can result in partial or complete tearing of the ligament.
Symptoms may include soreness on the outside of the knee, swelling, and stiffness. You may experience instability a feeling that the knee is unstable and going to buckle or give out.
32 million adults in the United States.
With aging, the cartilage that helps cushion the ends of bones in the knee joint can wear thin and eventually allow the bones to rub together. Pain, stiffness, and loss of joint movement can follow.
Some people have more significant wearing of the cartilage in the outer compartment of the knee joint and this can lead to lateral sided knee pain.
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Osteoarthritis And Rheumatoid Arthritis
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are two common types of arthritis that can lead to knee tightness. Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage in the knee to erode, leading to malalignment. Rheumatoid arthritis causes damage to the lining of the joints, which leads to inflammation. Both types of arthritis can lead to limited function and range of motion, deformity, and tightness.
Exercises that strengthen the surrounding muscle groups may help your range of motion and knee stability.
When To Seek Treatment For Your Arthritis
Arthritis doesnt have to spell the end of an active life. If you are experiencing worrisome symptoms or persistent pain, the renowned arthritis specialists at Summit Orthopedics can help. We work with you to confirm a diagnosis and develop an appropriate conservative treatment plan. If nonsurgical treatments fail to support your lifestyle goals, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons will consult with you and discuss appropriate surgical options. Summit is home to innovative joint replacement options. Our Vadnais Heights Surgery Center is one of only two surgery centers nationally to receive The Joint Commissions Advanced Certification for Total Hip and Total Knee Replacement.
Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MN, Plymouth, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as additional community clinics throughout the metro and southern Minnesota.
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Lateral Tibial Plateau Fracture
The tibial plateau is located at the top of the shin at the knee. A break on the outer or lateral part of the tibial plateau can cause considerable knee pain. A lateral tibial plateau fracture is often the result of a vehicle accident or a bad fall that impacts the outer knee directly.
If the bones are still aligned, surgery may not be required to treat the injury. If not, you may need surgery to place the affected bones in their proper position and secure them with screws or plates.
Treatments For Swollen Knee
Your treatment will depend on whats causing your swollen knee and how painful it is. Your doctor will recommend the most appropriate treatment after diagnosing the underlying cause.
In most cases, youll be advised to take painkillers. You can also apply ice and elevate your knee to help reduce the swelling. Sometimes removing some of the fluid in your knee helps reduce the pain and stiffness.
Other treatments include:
Ligament Or Tendon Injury
Ligaments and tendons are bands of fibrous connective tissue. Ligaments connect bones to other bones, whereas tendons connect muscles to bones.
Injuries to the ligaments or tendons of the knee most often occur during sports or other physical activities.
Ligament or tendon injuries can cause the following symptoms:
- pain when fully straightening or bending the knee
- a feeling that the knee is unstable or about to give way
Treatments for ligament or tendon injuries depend on the extent of the damage. A doctor may recommend:
- wearing a knee brace to help stabilize and protect the knee joint
- trying muscle-strengthening exercises
- doing gentle stretches
Some ligament and tendon injuries require surgical intervention by an orthopedic surgeon to restore stability to the knee joint.
Final Thoughts On The Subject: Why Does My Knee Feel Tight
As you can see, theres more than one answer to that question. Depending on your overall health, age, as well as some other factors, such as recent injuries, its hard to tell straight away why your knee feels tight.
However, I hope you found what you were looking for today. If youre still not quite sure what might be making your knee to act up the way it does especially if it never happened before you should probably consider talking to a medical professional.
Im considering talking about the possible course of treatment for knee tightness, as well as what you can do to prevent it in one of my following articles, so if youre interested in learning more on the topic, stay tuned!
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Physical Therapy For Knee Injuries
The expert team at Armor Physical Therapy has years of combined experience in identifying and treating the underlying cause of knee stiffness and other symptoms. When you come to us, well perform a thorough assessment to identify the source of your knee stiffness. We can then work closely with you to develop a customized treatment plan designed to improve flexibility and range of motion in the knee, while promoting long-term health and injury prevention.
Want to learn more about how we can help? Contact us today to schedule your initial appointment.
What You Can Do For Your Leg Muscles:
- Try exercises designed to support healthy movement in your knees.
- Work on flexibility in your legs with leg stretches.
- Do stretches and yoga poses a few times per week that help to relieve tight hamstrings.
- Do hip abduction exercises to promote good movement patterns and stability.
- Consider regular sessions with a massage therapist.
- Talk to a physical therapist for a treatment plan that takes into account your specific needs.
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What Knee Pain Symptoms Should I Look Out For
On top of injuries and age-related conditions, there are many causes of knee pain and knee inflammation. The symptoms you experience will vary depending on the cause.
Here are some common symptoms to look out for, and reasons most people speak to a doctor about getting knee pain treatment.
- Unable to straighten your knee
- Knee feeling unstable or giving way
- Locking of the knee joint
What Is The Best Way To Get Rid Of Fluid On The Knee
Treatment R.I.C.E.which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevationis best for minor pain directly after an injury. Compression by gently wrapping the knee with elastic bandaids. Over the counter anti-inflammatory pain medication such as ibuprofen or naproxen. Physical therapy exercises. Wearing a knee brace.
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Aetiology Of Knee Pain
Pain when ascending or descending stairs may indicate pathology from the patellofemoral joints. This is a direct result of the increase contact pressures on the patella when the knee is loaded in a flexed position.3 There is an increased incidence of patellofemoral disorders in women.4
Night pain is red flag symptom. The most common cause of night pain in the adult is a severe degenerative arthritis.5 However, night pain in a child or a young adult may indicate an underlying pathology such as infection or neoplasm. The presence of night pain in an older patient with normal plain radiology of the knee may also be a red flag symptom.
Risk Factors For A Swollen Knee
- Being overweight or obese your knees are weight-bearing so any excess weight puts more strain on them, which can damage your knee joint over time obesity also increases the risk of osteoarthritis, which is a common cause of a swollen knees
- Playing certain sports if you take part in sports that involve pivoting, rotating or twisting your knees, youre at greater risk of knee injuries, which cause swelling
- Your age your risk increases as you get older
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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Pfp Syndrome
Patellofemoral pain syndrome causes pain under and around the knee. The pain often gets worse with walking, kneeling, squatting, going up or down stairs, or running. It may also hurt after sitting with a bent knee for a long time, such as in a long car ride or in a movie theater.
Some people with PFP syndrome feel a popping or creaking after getting up from sitting or when going up or down stairs.
Expected Range Of Motion
After knee replacement surgery, it is important to work with a physical therapist to achieve the maximal range of motion. Typically, the range of motion will progress quickly during the first three months and can continue to increase for up to two years following surgery.
Normal motion after knee replacement is defined as the ability to get within 5 degrees of a straight knee and the ability to bend the knee back to 90 degrees. Most knee replacements have movement ranging from 0 degrees to 110 degrees or more.
The optimal motion of the replaced knee can be achieved with a combination of stretches, exercises, and gradual resumption of normal activities. Some surgeons will recommend the use of a machine to bend the knee, called a CPM, .
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Causes Of Swollen Knee
If your pain and swelling have come on suddenly, it may be due to an injury from playing sport or after an accident or fall. Common injuries include:
- Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs eg ibuprofen to relieve your pain
Chronic swelling, often with night-time pain, could be due to an underlying disease. These conditions, such as arthritis, are more likely as you age.
If you have arthritis, you will have chronic inflammation but you may also have symptoms of acute inflammation. There are different types of arthritis, which can all cause a swollen knee. These include:
- Gout caused by too much uric acid in your blood
- Infectious arthritis caused by an infection of a joint that leads to swelling
- Juvenile arthritis occurs in people aged up to 16 years
- Osteoarthritis the most common form of arthritis caused by break-down of cartilage in the joints
- Reactive arthritis usually occurs after an infection of your genitals or urinary tract and becomes chronic this is not common
- Rheumatoid arthritis your immune system mistakenly attacks your joints
If your doctor thinks your swollen knee could be caused by arthritis, they will ask you about any other symptoms and your medical history. They may refer you for further investigations, such as blood tests or an X-ray.
Treatments for arthritis vary depending on the type you have. They include:
- Lifestyle changes eg exercise
- Self-help devices eg easy-grip utensils, jar openers and reachers
Symptoms Of A Swollen Knee
- The skin around the kneecap is puffy
- The knee is stiff and its difficult to bend or straighten it
- Its painful and bearing weight is difficult or impossible
- Redness or warmth
Swelling that does not go away, also known as chronic swelling, can lead to joint damage, cartilage degradation, or bone softening.
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What Is Osteoarthritis Of The Knee
Everyones joints go through a normal cycle of damage and repair during their lifetime, but sometimes the bodys process to repair our joints can cause changes in their shape or structure. When these changes happen in one or more of your joints, its known as osteoarthritis.
A joint is a part of the body where two or more bones meet in your knee, its the thigh and shin bones. There is also a small bone at the front of the knee called the patella or kneecap.
The ends of our bones are covered in a smooth and slippery surface, known as cartilage . This allows the bones to move against each other without friction, and protects your joint from stress.
Your knee also has two other rings of a different type of cartilage known as menisci or meniscus, which help to share weight evenly across your knee joint, and theres also cartilage underneath your kneecap.
Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage in your knee joint to thin and the surfaces of the joint to become rougher, which means that the knee doesnt move as smoothly as it should, and it might feel painful and stiff.
Osteoarthritis can affect anyone at any age, but its more common in women over 50.
Injuries or other joint problems, such as gout, can make people more likely to get osteoarthritis. The genes we inherit from our parents can also increase the risk of the condition developing.
Why Does My Knee Feel Tight
Of course, the answer isnt simple. Numerous underlying causes are to blame for an uncomfortable condition such as this one. Imagine, as someone who likes running, not being able to bend your knee correctly. Torture, right?
Since finding the cause is the first, vital step to getting better, today Im going to focus on all the whys of knee tightness, so keep on reading!
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Whos At Risk Of Arthrofibrosis
There are several different risk factors for developing a stiff knee after surgery. Individuals with decreased range of motion prior to surgery have a greater risk of arthrofibrosis after their operation.
African Americans and patients who are under the age of 45 are also about twice as likely to need surgery to correct their stiffness . Smokers are at a greater risk too.
Home Treatment For Swollen Knees
It is important to consult with your physician before choosing a treatment plan. If advised by your doctor, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications can aid in treating minor cases of knee swelling. Usually, these cases are due to knee osteoarthritis, non-septic knee bursitis, or a minor injury.
The RICE formula can also work. RICE is rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
- Rest: Rest for a period of 24 hours or longer to give the joint time to recover.
- Ice: Icing the area for 20 minutes three to four times per day can help decrease swelling and aid in healing. It is important to avoid putting ice directly on the skin.
- Compression: Wrapping the knee with an elastic bandage can help to limit swelling, but make sure it is not too tight.
- Elevation: Elevate the knee to help reduce blood flow to the area, which can help to reduce the swelling.
With RICE, swelling often goes down in one to three days.
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Potential Causes Of Knee Swelling
Whether water on the knee is mildly annoying or painfully debilitating, a person will want to identify the likely cause and treat the symptoms to help reduce the likelihood of future problems. Chronic or long-standing swelling may lead to joint tissue damage, cartilage degradation, and bone softening, therefore treatment is usually recommended.
This article describes 12 conditions that frequently cause knee swelling, also called water on the knee.
1. Injury to the kneeTrauma to the knee’s bones, ligaments, tendons, bursae, meniscus, or articular cartilage can cause pain and swelling. Serious injury can cause blood to flood into the knee joint, leading to significant swelling, warmth, stiffness, and bruising. This condition is called hemarthrosis and warrants urgent medical care.
A patient should also seek medical attention if knee pain is severe, if the affected leg cannot bear weight, or if there is suspicion of a broken bone.
2. Knee osteoarthritisDegeneration of the cartilage of the knee joint can result in an overproduction of joint fluid, causing the knee to swell. A swollen knee due to knee osteoarthritis is typically accompanied by pain.
In fact, evidence suggests people who have severe knee pain from osteoarthritis are more likely to experience knee swelling. One study2 found that:
When a knee bursa is filled with pus, the knee may appear swollen and red, and may feel warm and painful. Read
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