What If You Ice Your Knee
Putting an ice pack on top of your knee is one of the most common home remedies to manage the swelling and other symptoms of a fresh injury.
Its become popular due to the RICE method: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Nowadays, athletes use cold therapy after games to help with recovery.
However, some research suggests that this might suppress the immune systems response that heals the tissues in the first place. So, it might be best to use ice only if youre experiencing severe pain.
Do this in bouts of ~10 minutes, 2-3 times per day to allow your tissue-repairing cells to do their job.
But if you have knee osteoarthritis, try using a heating pad instead.
Diseases And Conditions That Could Lead To Swollen Knees
- Osteoarthritis: Torn cartilage of the knee joint can cause an overproduction of joint fluid, much like osteoarthritis.
- Rheumatoid: An autoimmune disease, which affects the lining of the joints, can cause the knee to swell, become stiff, and feel tender.
- Gout: This is an accumulation of microscopic uric acid crystals in the joint. Swelling may occur, resulting in severe pain and redness.
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?
You May Like: My Knees Crack When I Squat
If All These Treatments Do Not Work And The Inflammation Continues And Causes Damage To The Knee Surgical Removal Of The Inflamed Synovial Tissue And Ultimately A Knee Replacement May Be Recommended
- The synovial fluid is a thick gel-like liquid that helps cushion the knee and acts to absorb the daily impact of walking and running and stair climbing our knees are subjected to.
- The synovial membrane lines the joint capsule and helps maintain synovial fluid in joints.
- Inflammation of the synovial membrane, synovitis, is found in both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis patients. It can also develop after knee surgery.
- Doctors use the synovial fluid as a means to understand the inflammatory environment of the knee.
What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Arthritis Of The Knee
It might be helpful to arrive at your healthcare providers office with a list of questions you want or need to be answered. Consider:
- Do I have arthritis in one knee or both?
- What type of arthritis do I have?
- Whats a possible cause of my arthritis?
- What treatments do you recommend?
- What medications should I take?
- Do I need physical therapy?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Knee arthritis can affect people of all ages. Its painful, impairs movement and causes swelling of the joint. Some people are so disabled by it that they cant work anymore. Others can only work after surgery. Meanwhile, for others, the pain isnt necessarily as bad, but it still prevents them from regular activities like cleaning, gardening and running after their kids.
Arthritis of the knee can decrease your quality of life. The good news is that treatments can lessen the severity of your symptoms. The pain and swelling might not be as bad. See your healthcare provider for evaluation and treatment if you have symptoms.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/18/2021.
Read Also: Does Aflac Cover Hysterectomy
What Is A Good Supplement For Joint Pain
Before you stock your medicine cabinet, heres a rundown of the most widely used over-the-counter treatments.
- OTC pain relievers. For swelling, the best solutions are general pain relievers that reduce inflammation and dont contain steroids. These pain medications are extremely common and include ibuprofen , naproxen and aspirin. OTC pain medications can help reduce pain, aches and/or inflammation. If youre taking other medications, be sure to consult your pharmacist before using any OTC pain relievers.
If you dont have swelling or inflammation, acetaminophen can help. Be careful to avoid drinking alcohol while taking acetaminophen, however, as it can cause liver damage.
- Topical treatments. Available in cream, spray, rub or gel forms, topical pain relievers are applied to the skin of the affected area to help reduce pain and swelling.
Medications that are applied directly to the sore area can include counterirritants that contain menthol or camphor, which counteract pain perceptions. These include products such as Icy Hot® and Biofreeze®.
The key ingredients active in these medicines include capsaicin and salicylates.
Dr. McElroy adds, Capsaicin is the chemical in chili peppers that give them their heat and interacts with your neurons to relieve pain, while salicylates have the same effects of aspirin.
In addition to traditional medication, heating wraps and pads can also be used to relieve joint pain and dont have serious side effects, says Dr. McElroy.
The Benefits Of A Holistic Approach To Treating The Knee Can Be Clearly Seen In The Definition Of Knee Osteoarthritis:
Knee Osteoarthritis is destruction to the whole knee
- Knee swelling is the result of a slow, progressive, degenerative disease that:
- destroys articular cartilage,
- causes destructive changes to the knees lubricating and protective synovial membrane,
- damages and causes the death of subchondral bone,
- causes weakness, damage, and laxity in the knees supporting ligaments and tendons,
- destroys and causes the death of the meniscus,
Also Check: Roller Knee Walker
Fluid Outside The Knee Joint
The most common cause of excessive fluid in the soft tissue surrounding the knee is prepatellar bursitis. This is inflammation of a fluid-filled sac which cushions the kneecap . The buildup can be seen and felt at the top of the kneecap. It is not something you would see under the knee.
An injury such as a contusion may also cause localized swelling. In some cases, the buildup of blood and fluid may mimic an acute injury of the knee joint.
What Are The Types Of Arthritis Of The Knee
There are around 100 types of arthritis. The most common types that might affect your knees include:
- Osteoarthritis is the most common of the types on this list. Osteoarthritis wears away your cartilage the cushioning between the three bones of your knee joint. Without that protection, your bones rub against each other. This can cause pain, stiffness and limited movement. It can also lead to the development of bone spurs. Osteoarthritis gets worse as time passes.
- Post-traumatic arthritis is a type of osteoarthritis. The cartilage starts thinning after trauma to your knee . Your bones rub together, and that causes the same symptoms as osteoarthritis: pain, stiffness and limited movement. Your knee arthritis symptoms might not start until years after the trauma.
- Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. A healthy immune system causes inflammation when it’s trying to protect you from an infection, injury, toxin or another foreign invader. The inflammatory response is one way your body protects itself. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you have an unhealthy immune system that triggers inflammation in your joints even though theres no foreign invader. The inflammation causes pain, stiffness and swelling of the synovial membrane, which can also wear away your cartilage.
Also Check: Knees Crack When Doing Squats
What Causes Joint Pain And Swelling
Acute joint pain usually comes on quickly and lasts a short while. Some frequent causes of acute joint pain include:
- injury, such as sprains and strains
- overuse of the joint
- an infection
- other illnesses, such as the flu or COVID-19
Chronic joint pain and swelling may be caused by a ‘rheumatic’ condition a condition that affects your joints, bones and muscles. There are more than 200 different kinds of rheumatic conditions, including arthritis, gout and lupus.
Joint Or Bursal Aspiration
When a patient has a swollen knee, a doctor may want to verify or rule out certain diagnoses by analyzing the accumulated fluid. To do this, the doctor will remove fluid from the affected knee joint capsule or bursa using a needle and syringe. When performed on a joint capsule, this process is called joint aspiration or arthrocentesis. When performed on a bursa, this process is called bursal aspiration.
The doctor will take note of the aspirated fluid’s color and viscosity and may send it to a lab for further analysis. Determining the contents of the fluid can lead to an accurate diagnosis. For example, uric acid crystals in the joint fluid indicate gout, and bacteria in the fluid indicate infection.
Aspiration and examination of the fluid are important diagnostic steps because the underlying cause of knee swelling will determine the appropriate medical treatment.
Aspirated fluids are not always sent to a lab for analysis. If a diagnosis is already known, a physician may perform an aspiration to improve joint function and patient comfort.
Don’t Miss: Inversion Table After Hip Replacement
Medication That Knocks Out Knee Pain
Medication can deliver strong relief for your knee pain, but you must be mindful of the possible side effects and follow directions.
There is a variety of medication available for knee pain, including both oral and injectable medication, depending on the source of your pain. But most medication used by people with knee pain falls into one of two categories: anti-inflammatories and pain relievers, also known as analgesics.
Over-The-Counter Medication for Knee Pain
Most medication that falls in the anti-inflammatory category also has analgesic effects, says William Bargar, MD, director of the Joint Replacement Center with Sutter General Hospital in Sacramento, Calif., and a spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Dr. Bargar points out that even though knee pain-relieving medication is available without a prescription, you should use care when taking it. Be sure to follow the instructions for any medication and read the warnings.
Prescription Medication for Knee Pain
Injectable Medication for Knee Pain
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.
You May Like: What Is The Best Knee Walker
Getting Rid Of Swelling And Inflammation And Degeneration Requires A Health Professional Familiar With Using Inflammation As A Healing Tool
Above we said that a joint that lives in constant inflammation is a joint in a state of unrelenting erosion. Your knee is in a place where it is breaking down faster than your body can repair it. We are not just talking about a piece of the knee like its just the cartilage, or it is just a tendon, or it is just a ligament, it is the whole knee spontaneously degenerating. This is why your whole knee is swelled up.
The focus of our treatment is the strengthening and repair of the knee ligaments. Why is this our focus?
If you want to get rid of chronic knee swelling you must have a treatment that repairs the entire knee. The ligaments are the structures that hold the entire knee together. This means to help repair a meniscus, you must strengthen the ligaments. To heal cartilage damage, you must treat the ligaments. To prevent the recurrence of a Bakers Cyst, you must treat the ligaments. To prevent continued knee degeneration from the destructive forces of osteoarthritis, you must treat the ligaments with a treatment that correctly turns off the inflammation in such a way that beneficial inflammation, the inflammation process that repairs, is left behind to heal the damage.
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.
Don’t Miss: Inversion Table Knees
Comprehensive Prolotherapy For Problems Of Knee Instability And Wear And Tear And Bone On Bonerepetitive Inflammation As An Anti
Comprehensive Prolotherapy is an injection technique that uses a simple sugar, dextrose, and in some cases, it is combined with Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy to address damage and micro-tearing of the ligaments or soft tissue in the knee. A series of injections are placed at the tender and weakened areas of the affected structures of the knee. These injections contain a proliferant to stimulate the body to repair and heal by inducing a mild inflammatory reaction.
The localized inflammation causes healing cells to arrive at the injured area and lay down new tissue, creating stronger ligaments and rebuilding soft tissue. As the ligaments tighten and the soft tissues heal, the knee structures function normally rather than subluxing and moving out of place. When the knee functions normally, the pain and swelling go away.
In published research in the Journal of Prolotherapy, we investigated the outcomes of patients receiving Prolotherapy treatment for unresolved, difficult-to-treat knee pain at a charity clinic in Illinois. Here are the bullet points of our research:
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.
Read Also: Best Knee Walker 2016
What Do 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. .
What Really Solves Knee Pain The Answer Might Surprise You
The pill most often prescribed for knee pain acetaminophen may not help at all, researchers reported Monday.
The new study of what works for arthritis pain in the knee came up with some surprising results. The most common treatments often may not help much, and even a placebo injection of salt water provides more pain relief than any pill.
The findings go against what many doctors have long believed, although they didnt surprise veteran knee surgeons, who know pain relief varies greatly from one patient to another.
All treatments except acetaminophen showed clinically significant improvement from baseline pain.”
Dr. Raveendhara Bannuru and colleagues at Tufts Medical Center near Boston looked at thousands of studies on various treatments for knee pain, from acetaminophen the active ingredient in Tylenol to ibuprofen to steroid injections.
Finding the scientific truths is tricky. Theres not much incentive for drug companies to test generic, over-the-counter drugs such as naproxen, and theres also not much reason to test an injection of a steroid against a generic treatment such as hyaluronic acid, a kind of joint lubricant.
But the team came up with 137 studies covering 33,000 people that met some high standards theyd been blinded, meaning the doctors didnt know which treatment a patient actually got as they evaluated pain, stiffness and range of motion.
And most compared treatment to placebo a dummy pill or dummy injection.
Recommended Reading: Dcf Compression Knee Sleeve