What Causes Swelling Behind The Knee
There are a number of different causes of swelling behind the knee. In most cases, back of knee swelling is caused by a build-up of fluid or an abnormal growth in the popliteal space the soft area at the back of the knee.
Here we look at five common causes of swelling behind the knee, the causes and symptoms of each, how to tell whether its something serious and the best ways to treat causes of swelling behind the knee.
Brief Anatomy Of The Knee
The knee is a vulnerable joint that bears a great deal of stress from everyday activities, such as lifting and kneeling, and from high-impact activities, such as jogging and aerobics.
The knee is formed by the following parts:
Tibia. This is the shin bone or larger bone of the lower leg.
Femur. This is the thighbone or upper leg bone.
Patella. This is the kneecap.
Each bone end is covered with a layer of cartilage that absorbs shock and protects the knee. Basically, the knee is 2 long leg bones held together by muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
There are 2 groups of muscles involved in the knee, including the quadriceps muscles , which straighten the legs, and the hamstring muscles , which bend the leg at the knee.
Tendons are tough cords of tissue that connect muscles to bones. Ligaments are elastic bands of tissue that connect bone to bone. Some ligaments on the knee provide stability and protection of the joints, while other ligaments limit forward and backward movement of the tibia .
What Questions Might A Healthcare Provider Ask To Diagnose Arthritis Of The Knee
Your healthcare provider will interview you when you report your symptoms. Some questions might include:
- Does anyone in your family have arthritis of the knee?
- Does your knee swell up?
- Is your skin often red?
- Is your skin often warm?
- Do you have symptoms in one knee or both?
- How long have you had these symptoms?
- What medications do you take?
- How severe is your pain?
- Do you struggle to walk?
- Do the symptoms interfere with your daily activities?
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What Is The Treatment For Knee Pain
Treatments for knee pain are as varied as the conditions that can cause the pain.
Medications might be prescribed to treat an underlying medical condition or for pain relief.
If you are taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medications regularly for your knee pain, you should see your doctor to be evaluated.
Sometimes physical therapy sessions to strengthen the muscles around the knee will make it more stable and help guarantee the best mechanical movements. Working with a physical therapist can help avoid injuries or further worsening of an injury.
Injecting medications directly into your knee might help in certain situations. The two most common injections are corticosteroids and lubricants. Corticosteroid injections can help arthritis and other inflammations of the knee. They usually need to be repeated every few months. Lubricants that are similar to the fluid already in your knee joint can help with movement and pain.
Torn Cartilage Or Ligament
Common types of injuries in this category include tears in the anterior cruciate ligament and the medial collateral ligament that often occur during sports, according to Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush. Symptoms of an ACL are a loud popping sound and immediate pain, followed by swelling and knee instability with difficulty walking. Symptoms of an MCL include pain when pressure is put on the ligament and with a complete tear greater pain, swelling and an inability to straighten the leg, Midwest Orthopaedics says.
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What Causes Bone Bruising In The Knee
What causes bone bruising in the knee A bruise, or contusion, appears on the skin due to trauma. Examples of trauma are a cut or a blow to an area of the body. Hereditary causes may lead you to be predisposed to injuring your knee. Bone shape: Small malformations of the bones that form the joints may.
What Procedures And Tests Diagnose Knee Pain
A health care professional will begin by asking questions related to the person’s general health and then specifically to the nature of the knee pain .
Next, an examination of the knee will be performed. This will include bending the knee through the full range of motion, checking for stability of the ligaments, and evaluating for any tenderness and swelling. It is often helpful to compare the results of the examination of the painful knee with the other knee. Frequently, this is all that is required to make a diagnosis and start treatment. In several research studies, it has been found that an experienced examiner is as reliable as X-ray examination.
Sometimes the doctor might want to do further studies such as the following tests.
Plain X-ray can establish fractures and degenerative changes of the knee.
MRI is used to evaluate the soft tissues of the knee for ligament tears or cartilage and muscle injuries.
If gout, arthritis, or other medical conditions are suspected, a health care professional might order blood tests.
Removal of joint fluid
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Plan For Your Surgery: Before And After
Make sure to plan for the fact that you are having surgery.
- Designate a close friend or family member as your Patient Champion
- As a patient champion, this person will be responsible to help you throughout the process of your surgery. Your patient champion will have the following responsibilities:
- Attend your Pre-Op appointment with you.
- Bring you to the facility on the day of surgery.
- Drive you home and help you into your residence.
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Knee Exercises To Reduce Inflammation
Exercise might not be the best way to get rid of inflammation in the knee, but it may help. It’s particularly beneficial for those with arthritis, leading to greater flexibility and range of motion. Certain movements can also strengthen the muscles surrounding your knee and relieve discomfort.
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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
Prevention Is Your Best Defense
Regular exercise may also protect against knee injuries by strengthening the muscles in this area, states the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. For example, you can do straight leg lifts, wall squats or hamstring curls from a standing position. Stretching the quads and hamstrings is just as beneficial. Here are some stretches you can try right now:
Move 1: Hamstring Stretch
Move 2: Quadriceps Stretch
Again, it’s important to listen to your body. If, say, you can’t do full squats because your knee hurts, try a partial squat and place your hands on a wall for support. Consider using resistance bands instead of gym machines for leg extensions. Avoid high-impact movements, such as jumping, as they may increase the stress on your knee joints.
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Why Is Your Knee Always Swollen
The simple answer to why is your knee is always swollen is because it is in a constant state of injury. Your immune system is constantly sending fluids to help cushion your knee and repair damaged tissue and remove dead tissue. The problem is, the knee is beyond its ability to repair the damage in your knee and the fluids remain constant.
So then, why is your knee always swollen?
- You have swelling because your knee lives in a toxic, inflammatory environment and that toxic inflammation runs deeper than conservative anti-inflammatory care can handle.
- The swelling is a toxic soup. It bathes your knee in a constant inflammation that causes knee breakdown.
- As your knee is in a corrosive state where it is breaking down faster than your body can repair it you get caught in a cycle breaking down causing swelling, swelling causing breakdown.
- The inflammatory process is corrosive. This is why there is an urgency to shut down the inflammation to stop knee destruction.
What Causes Sharp Knee Pain When Squatting Down
Do you experience knee pain when squatting? Squatting is a position that you often perform throughout the day. You may need to squat down while picking something up or lifting a box. Or you may squat while playing sports or in your workouts.Whatever the case may be, you can experience sharp pain in your knee when you squat down. But this doesnt mean it is okay to feel pain in the knee. Rather, it can be a sign of an underlying condition, or you may not be doing the exercise in proper form. Read along to find out possible causes of knee pain when bending or squatting down.
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Its A Symptom Of Lyme Disease
The often-mysterious Lyme diseasea bacterial infection transmitted to humans through a tick bitecan affect the joints over time if left untreated. Any time I see someone with knee swelling that doesnt make sense for any other reason, I consider Lyme, says Dr. Gladstone.
Any time I see someone with knee swelling that doesnt make sense, I consider Lyme.
We dont fully understand how Lyme works, but it can manifest in many different ways, including joint swelling, he explains. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , the knees are particularly susceptible to severe Lyme-related arthritis, pain, and swelling.
Its worth noting, though, that these symptoms show up as the disease advances . Earlier signs of Lyme disease include the telltale bullseye-shaped rash and flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue, fever, headaches, muscle pain, and neck stiffness. Given Lymes murky mechanisms, treatment is relatively straightforward and involves a course of antibiotics to wipe the bacteria out of the body.
Your Doctor May Not Want To Give You Cortisone If Knee Replacement Is Seen As Ultimately Your Only Answer
We see many patients who tell us that they have gone to their doctors and have asked for one more cortisone injection because of the amount of pain and swelling that they were suffering from that day. You know that the call to the doctors office for an appointment usually comes on the day when your knee hurts worse. The doctor, to his/her credit in many cases, has declined to give his/her patient this one more cortisone shot because their concern is that if you get cortisone injections into your knee prior to surgery, you will have a greater risk of complications after the surgery. There is a lot of debate around this subject.
A December 2020 study published in the medical journal Rheumatology gives this overview assessment of the debate surrounding the use of cortisone for a bone on bone knee. Here are the summary learning points:
- Existing data indicate that intra-articular corticosteroids in knee osteoarthritis provide short-term pain relief and functional improvement which may last from one to several weeks.
- At present, synovitis is the most important predictor of treatment response, and also a target for anti-inflammatory treatment for intra-articular corticosteroids.
- Our explanatory note: If you have a lot of knee swelling, cortisone may be of benefit.
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When Should You See A Doctor For Swollen Knees
In most cases with a swollen knee, minimal to moderate knee swelling can be taken care of at home. What does it mean if my knee is swollen? The quick answer is the following cases are reasons to contact doctor:
- The knee is unable to full bend or straighten.
- The knee has a pronounced abnormality or is severely swollen.
- There is extreme pain in the knee.
- The patient is unable to walk on the knee and it feels like it is going to give out.
- The area is red and hot.
- The patient has a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher.
- The knee has been swollen for 3 days or more.
If you want to learn more about knee pain, go to:
If one is uncertain about whether the swelling is serious or not, calling a doctor is a good decision to avoid future damage and resolve an issue within the joint. Hopefully, this article has given you some reasons for “what does it mean if my knee is swollen?”. If the swelling does not go away for an extended period of time, it is probably time to see a JOI Orthopedic Knee Specialist.
To schedule physical therapy with one of our 12 JOI Rehab centers, please call .
Can Rehabilitation Be Done At Home
All patients are given a set of home exercises to do between supervised physical therapy sessions and the home exercises make up an important part of the recovery process. However, supervised therapywhich is best done in an outpatient physical therapy studiois extremely helpful and those patients who are able to attend outpatient therapy are encouraged to do so.
For patients who are unable to attend outpatient physical therapy, home physical therapy is arranged.
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Causes Of Inside 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.
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What Are We Seeing In This Image Fluid On The Knee Or In The Knee Drowns Cartilage And Meniscus Cells And Leads To Bone On Bone Knees
In this image, we see cells that are drowning. How does this happen? Arent our knees protected by synovial fluid? Dont our knees live in fluid? Isnt 90% of our body made of water? So how do cells drown?
At the start of your chronic knee problems, you were at the development phase of knee instability caused by weakened or damaged knee ligaments. As your knee became more unstable and somewhat painful your body started to send extra fluids into the knee to act as a sort of brace and extra shock absorber. Your body needs a functioning knee so your body is trying to protect your knee. As you continue on with your job and activities and your knee becomes more of a problem, your body sends more fluid to the knee. Your body is trying to tell you something. Your knee is a problem.
As knee degeneration continues cracks start developing in the articular cartilage of the knee. That is the cartilage that wraps at the bottom of the thigh bone, the back of the patella, and the top of the shinbones. Cracks and tears also develop in the meniscus. Here you are on the way to bone on bone. But it can get worse.