Pain Swelling And Knee Stiffness
First lets talk about pain: Its the bodys way of preventing you from making an injury worse. Since pain may limit movement, it can cause stiffness in the knees, as can any ongoing injury.
Knees become swollen when excess fluid builds up inside the knee due to an injury, overuse, or medical condition. This can cause sensations of tightness as well as pain. Swelling may be subtle, so you may not always notice it unless its a severe injury. Since the swelling may not be visible, you may feel this as stiffness in the knee.
Any type of swelling will cause limited movement since theres less space in the knee. Irritation, internal bleeding, and injuries in the knee can lead to fluid buildup. Arthritis, gout, and tumors or cysts are conditions that can also cause swelling.
Pain and swelling are two mechanisms your body uses to protect itself. Together they can lead to stiffness in your knee. Next, lets look at possible causes.
If The Pain Seems To Be Chronic
Chronic knee pain is quite common in kids. They may experience pain on and off for a number of weeks. There may be no redness or limping, but theyll often say that it still hurts. Pain in the lower part of the knee is most likely a temporary ligament stress of the top of the shinbone. It can be from overuse, imbalance in muscle strength, or a growth related disease called Osgood Schlatter disease. Talk with Carrollton Orthopaedic Clinic about treatments.
If the pain is located on the outside of the knee, it comes from repeated stress causing the tissue on the side of the thigh to become inflamed. This particular type of injury is especially common with runners. Invest in good shoes, suggest warm up stretches, and advise your child to rest in order to relieve the pain.
A third type of chronic pain in kids can be deep in the knee under the kneecap. This is a common overuse injury. Squatting and climbing usually makes the pain worse.
All three of these chronic issues can be dealt with through physical therapy or handled at home. Rest, ice packs, taking a break from activities, and taking ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory medications are all excellent at home treatments to try at the first signs of knee pain. If after two weeks the pain persists, its time for your child to see Carrollton Orthopaedic Clinic.
When To See Your Doctor
Its important that you see a doctor when seeking treatment. A doctor can determine the cause of your knee tightness, and together you can develop a treatment plan to resolve your condition. You may have a physical exam, imaging tests, or lab tests.
You may be referred to a doctor specializing in physical therapy or musculoskeletal and joint problems, or a rheumatologist. If you need surgery, youll be referred to an orthopedic surgeon.
The Healthline FindCare tool can provide options in your area if you dont already have a doctor.
When youre doing knee stretches and exercises its important that you follow a few guidelines in order to get the maximum benefits. Here are a few tips:
Also Check: How Do You Know If You Sprained Your Knee
Arthritis Is Wearing On Your Joints
A catch-all term for inflammation of a joint, arthritis is particularly common in the knee. It develops over time and typically causes knees to swell, stiffen, and become painful or difficult to move.
Per the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, knees are most often affected by two forms of arthritis: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. In osteoarthritis , cartilage throughout the knee jointwhich protects the ends of your boneswears away over time. Meanwhile, in rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system attacks the joint, damaging its connective tissues and bones.
If The Pain Keeps Your Child Up At Night
If you child complains of pain early in the evening or before bedtime, this could be nothing more serious than growing pains. These occur in older kids and teens, and in this case it is due to the wear and tear of the day and nothing to worry about. They will wake up in the morning feeling fine.
On the other hand if pain is waking them up at night, this is something more serious and your child should be seen by Carrollton Orthopaedic Clinic right away to assess their condition.
Recommended Reading: What Can I Do For Knee Pain
Mildly Swollen But Painless Knee: Possible Cause
The most common cause of non-traumatic knee swelling is a misalignment of the large tibia bone that comprises the lower part of the knee joint, says Eugene Charles, DC, Diplomate of applied kinesiology and author of Journey to Healing: The Art and Science of Applied Kinesiology.
This frequently happens insidiously through daily activities where you turn your leg and foot out repetitively.
These subtle movements include getting out of a chair or car seat and going up stairs.
Over time the tibia bone rotates slightly out of alignment and needs to be realigned through a precise chiropractic or osteopathic adjustment.
Resting it only helps because you are not using it, but rest alone does not fix the underlying cause of the knee problem specifically the misalignment of the knee joint itself.
What Is The Treatment For Swelling Above Knee
Swelling above the knee can sometimes be a medical emergency when caused by fracture, dislocation or infection of knee joint. Most of the times injury or damage caused to the soft tissues around the knee joint need proper rest to promote healing. Injuries to the knee joint and soft tissues generally take time to heal and need immobilization.
The conservative treatment most often advised for swollen knee is a formula of RICE therapy. Anti-inflammatories and pain-killers can help. Arthritis and joint related conditions may require additional treatment.
Fluid aspiration may be performed if swelling above the knee is severe and not infected. It gives relief in pain following reduction in size of knee swelling. The fluid after aspiration is sent for lab studies and used as a diagnostic tool to detect the exact cause of inflammation. Depending on the fluid examination, further treatment may be planned. Knee joint infections is treated with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications. Autoimmune disease and joint inflammation is treated with corticosteroid treatment. Calcium and vitamin D supplements may be given, if found appropriate.
Recommended Reading: When Is It Time For Knee Replacement
Is My Knee Injury Serious 5 Signs To Look For
Howard J. Luks, MDUpdated September 17, 2021
Your knee twists, you hear a pop, and now you have knee swelling and pain when trying to walk or with bending your knee. Perhaps you were struck by another player and have bruising, but no swelling. Are these severe knee injuries? When should you consider seeing a Sports Medicine Doctor following a knee injury? Lets go over 5 things that trained professionals look for to determine if your knee injury is serious.
As an active athlete or competitor, you know that severe knee injuries are common. Both contact and non-contact knee injuries can be severe. This post will cover five signs to look for to help determine if you might have a severe knee injury. In general, the most common and worrisome finding is immediate, significant swelling.
Even though most of the injuries I see in the office turn out to be mild, it is essential for you to know what the warning signs are to look for a potentially severe knee injury.
My Knee Hurts But Its Not Swollen
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Also Check: What Is The Best Thing To Take For Knee Pain
Chronic Knee Pain Treatment
Through years of experience, weve figured out that good and long-lasting chronic knee pain relief doesnt work unless all bases are covered.
The best knee pain management combines pain-reducing treatments with selected therapies like physical and psychological rehabilitation treatment.
TYPES OF TREATMENT
When To See A Specialist For Your Childs Knee Pain
With the warm weather on its way, parents are likely to be faced with kids complaining of knee pain. They fall, overdo it playing sports, combined with bending, climbing and stretching the wrong way. Sometimes they may complain about it, and then never mention it again. But other times the pain becomes severe and doesnt go away. It is important to know when to see a specialist for your childs knee pain.
At Carrollton Orthopaedics, we provide comprehensive care to patients suffering from knee pain in Douglasville, Hiram, Dallas and Carrollton, GA. Our orthopaedic physicians will take the time to diagnose your childs knee pain and provide the best treatment option for you and your child. If your child has recently suffered a knee injury, please contact our orthopaedic clinic at and schedule an appointment today!
Muscles Weak And Strong
Maintaining flexible muscles around your knee that are strong enough to support your body may help to alleviate or prevent tightness in the knee area. Strong legs, hips, and buttocks are thought to reduce knee tightness.
Research surrounding the benefits of strong leg muscles in relation to knee tightness varies. According to a 2010 study that looked at over 2,000 knees of men and women who had or were at risk for osteoarthritis, neither hamstring nor quadriceps strength predicted frequent knee symptoms such as pain, aching, and stiffness.
Still, having strong quadriceps may help to reduce the risk of knee problems, since stronger muscles can help to support the knee joint.
A 2014 study that was conducted over five years with 2,404 participants who also had or were at risk for osteoarthritis, found that weak quadriceps were associated with an increased risk of worsening knee pain in women but not in men. Researchers acknowledged that their longer study built on similar studies of shorter duration , and smaller group sizes, to support the link between leg muscle strength and knee pain. Their study suggests there may also be sex-specific differences in risk factors for worsening knee pain.
When Should I Be Concerned About Not Being Able To Straighten Knee
A single episode where you cant straighten the knee that is not associated with other symptoms typically does not warrant concern or further evaluation. Multiple episodes of not being able to straighten your knee warrant further evaluation. Who should evaluate the clicking in your knee? Bypass your surgeon and schedule a consultation with a physician trained in Interventional Orthopedics. Surgeons provide surgical solutions that are not always in your best interest. What is Interventional Orthopedics? It is a board-certified physician in PM& R or anesthesia with advanced orthopedic training with nonsurgical treatment options. They use orthobiologics to heal injured orthopedic tissue. Orthobioligcs are biological substances naturally found in the body that are used to promote quicker healing of muscle, tendon, and bone injuries. To learn more please click on the video below.
Also Check: What Can Cause Sudden Knee Pain
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.
What Are The Treatment Options
Identifying the underlying cause of why you can not straighten your knee will provide the best clinical results. Conservative therapy when appropriate is always the first line of treatment.
Not all meniscus tears are painful. In fact, in one study 60% of patients without pain had meniscus tears on MRI. PRP is effective in the treatment of meniscus tears. Steroids should be avoided as they are toxic. Meniscus surgery has been demonstrated to be no better than PT . In addition, it increases the risk of knee instability and arthritis. To learn more about the treatment of meniscus tears please click on the video below.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is a joint disease where the cartilage that lines and protects the joint gradually wears down resulting in pain, swelling, and restriction in movement. Approximately 13% of women and 10% of men aged 60 years and older have symptomatic knee osteoarthritis . Risk factors for knee osteoarthritis include obesity, female gender, repetitive knee trauma, muscle weakness, squatting, and meniscus injuries . Loss of cartilage and bone spur formation can both result in you not being able to straighten your knee.
Patellar and Quadriceps Tendon Injuries
Take a deeper dive here:
Also Check: Can You Replace Knee Cartilage
Other Tactics You Can Use To Avoid Injury:
- Choose the right shoes, and know when to replace them. Avid runners will be prone to knee pain if they wear incorrect running shoes, such as a shoe designed for a low arch worn by someone with a high arch, or if they fail to replace their running shoes in the correct time interval, typically at 200 to 300 miles depending on body type and shoe type, Bayes says.
- Stretch properly. Tight muscles are at risk for strain and can put extra force on the knees and other joints.
- Get adequate rest. Take at least one to two days off from running per week to avoid overuse.
- Stay well-hydrated. Dehydration by even 5 percent has been shown to increase injury risk, Schulz says.
Once you know what to do to avoid an injury, use these workouts to take your fitness to the next level.
Acute Onset Without Injury
Rapid onset of swelling with no injury is abroad category wherein the accumulation of fluid is not due to an injury or a chronic condition, such as:
- Infection can result in joint fluid accumulation, often as a result of surgery, a knee wound, or systemic infection that spreads to the joint. Treatment can be a problem as the body has a tough time clearing infection from this space. Surgery may be required to fully clean out a .
- Gout and pseudogout involve a buildup of crystals in the knee fluid. With gout, the uric acid used to transport waste can accumulate and crystallize in various joints of the body, causing intense swelling and pain. With pseudogout, the culprit is calcium crystals.
Recommended Reading: What To Do To Relieve Knee Pain
An Infection Could Be Lurking
Perhaps the most dire cause of knee swelling, infection in the knee joint warrants a hasty trip to the doctor. When an infection gets into the knee joint, the knee quickly becomes really swollen, red, and hot, says Dr. Gladstone. If untreated, infection can affect the whole body, causing fevers and body shakes.
Though a poorly-cleaned gash on the knee can lead to infection, infections elsewhere in the body can make their way through the bloodstream and into joints, Dr. Gladstone explains.
What Does It Mean When Your Knee Wont Straighten
Your knee is capable of moving in a number of directions. The most common are flexion and extension. Flexion is when you bend your knee and the shin bone moves towards the buttock. Knee extension is when you straighten out your knee. The extension is the opposite of flexion. PT, trainers, and physicians alike measure the degree of knee flexion and extension. When lying flat on an examination table or hard surface your knee should be able to extend so that there is no angle between the thigh and shin bone. The inability to straighten the knee is also known as an extension lag and is a reason for concern.
When Should You Use Heat
When you use a heating pad or hot water bottle, blood flood increases. This makes it easier for oxygen and nutrients to reach your painful joints. Heat helps loosen tight muscles and joints and relieves pain and muscle spasms. If you have swelling, it’s best to use ice for 24 hours, then switch to heat. If swelling isn’t a problem, it’s fine to use heat when you first notice knee pain.
Although a heating pad can help you feel better, it can cause burns if you use it too long or the setting is too high. Don’t use the heating pad for more than 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Stop using the heating pad sooner if it worsens your pain or your skin begins to look very red.
If you don’t have a heating pad or hot water bottle, wet a washcloth, wring it out, then microwave it for 30 seconds. You can microwave the washcloth for a few seconds longer if it isn’t quite warm enough.
A hot shower or bath is also a good choice if you have aching muscles or joints due to an injury, chronic low back pain or arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation® suggests keeping the water temperature between 92 and 100 degrees when you take a shower.