Medial Collateral Ligament Injury
The medial collateral ligament runs along the outside of your inner knee to stabilize the joint. If the ligament overstretches, you may have an MCL sprain.
The MCL can also tear partially or fully. An MCL injury most commonly occurs after force is applied to the outer knee, such as in contact sports.
Symptoms of an MCL injury include:
Gradual Knee Swelling Without An Injury
A swollen knee that develops gradually is usual a sign of an underlying knee condition rather than an injury. The fluid on the knee tends to come and go and varies in amount. There is usually only mild to moderate amounts of swelling in these cases.
Arthritisis the most common cause of gradual knee swelling, often referred to as water on the knee. Arthritis is the wear and tear of the cartilage and bones. It causes the body to produce extra fluid in the knee, which fluctuates in amounts. Other symptoms of arthritis include stiffness and crepitus .
Sometimes if the leg has been overworked, or gets knocked or twisted, the joint gets irritated and responds by producing more fluid to try and protect and heal itself, hence the term water on the knee.
Visit the Arthritissection to find out more including causes, symptoms and treatment options.
Evaluating Pain On The Inner Side Of The Knee
Knee problems are quite common due to the nature of the joint. Our ankle, knee, and hip joints are tasked with supporting the weight of the entire body when walking, sitting, and moving throughout the world, but the knee in some ways is the most confined. The hip is a ball-and-socket joint with a wide rotation range, and the ankle, though functionally an up-and-down-style hinge joint just like the knee, nevertheless can also rotate the foot in ways the knee joint cannot move.
This rigidity in the knee gives us the support we need to stand but is also vulnerable to sudden switching movements that can cause slips and injuries among the bones and tissues of the joint. These injuries can result in pain and sometimes permanent loss of function, and this is why its important to quickly identify knee pain.
When it comes to pain on the inner side of the knee, here are some important distinctions.
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What Are Risk Factors For Knee Pain
Biomechanics: The knee joint is complicated in its operation and is used frequently throughout the day. Any change in the movement of the joint can cause subtle changes and cause pain and injuries.
Excess weight: The stress on the knee joint is increased with excess weight. Obesity also increases the risk of knee osteoarthritis as the cartilage breaks down more rapidly.
Overuse during repetitive motions as are found during certain exercises or work conditions can cause breakdown of cartilage and lead to pain.
Locking And Giving Way
Symptoms of locking may occur immediately after injury or more commonly, after the initial acute, severe phase of injury has resolved. These symptoms are suggestive of a mechanical block, usually to extension in the knee.
Causes of mechanical block include:
A torn piece of meniscus caught between the femoral and tibial condyles;
Chondral or osteochondral fragments;
Occasionally, a torn anterior cruciate ligament with tissue blocking extension.
Giving way can be caused by the mechanical block as above, or instability from ligamentous pathology. Sportsmen often describe instability as the inability to trust their knee, especially when turning at pace. One further cause of locking or giving way is a perceived mechanical phenomenon due to patellofemoral pathology, either patellofemoral chondral wear, degeneration or mal-tracking. While this is not a true mechanical locking the patient perceives the sensation of locking, particularly after rising from a seated position after a long period or when squatting.
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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
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.
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Youre Dealing With An Injury
Whether you took a tumble during your workout or just walked smack into the coffee table, swelling is a normal reaction to injuriesincluding those around your knees. In fact, injuries are the most common reason for swollen knees that James Gladstone, MD, chief of sports medicine at The Mount Sinai Health System, sees in younger, healthy patients.
Injuries signal an inflammatory response in the body, which causes swelling, Dr. Gladstone explains. Immediately post-injury, blood flow to the injured area increases, delivering the rush of fluids, proteins, and white blood cells needed to start the healing process. As a result, the injured area becomes red and swollen.
Two common knee injuries: a torn ACL and a torn meniscus .
Use Your Knee Brace And Crutches
If youve been fitted for a knee brace or had one recommended to you, make sure it fits properly. You should be able to insert two fingers under the strap. If its difficult to fit two fingers or if you can fit a third finger, youll need to adjust the tightness. Usually youll wear the brace for two to six weeks.
Use crutches if theyve been given and avoid putting any pressure on your knee until your doctor says its okay. Wait at least two weeks or until your doctor gives you the go-ahead before you bathe, swim, or use a hot tub. Follow a healthy diet and drink plenty of fluids. Eat high-fiber foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables to ensure you have regular bowel movements. This will help while you may not have the benefit of moving around as much as usual.
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What Can Cause Swelling Above Knee & What Is Its Treatment
Swelling above knee is a fairly common condition and observed when knee joint or the soft tissues surrounding knee joint is inflamed or injured. Swelling above or over the knee joint is a condition often observed following the knee joint disease. It is sometimes also referred to as water on the knee.
Joints are junctions at which two bones meet with the help of soft tissues or surrounding structures. Swelling above knee indicates accumulation of fluid around the knee joint. Synovial fluid is normally present in the knee joint for lubrication, protection and nutrition of the cells in the joint.1 However, excessive accumulation of fluid in the knee joint causing knee swelling may mean some disturbance in the normal structure and functioning.
What Causes A Swollen Knee
Knee swelling from mild knee osteoarthritis, non-septic knee bursitis, or a minor injury can be treated at home with over-the-counter medication and the R.I.C.E. formula. ReadHow to Care for a Swollen Knee
Swelling in a knee joint may limit knee flexibility and function. For example, a person may find it difficult to fully bend or completely straighten a swollen knee, and the joint may naturally bend 15° to 25° while the leg is at rest. The swollen knee may also be painful, red, and/or difficult to put weight on.
Depending on the underlying condition, a swollen knee may be treated at home using the R.I.C.E. formula or may require medical treatment. A doctor can make an accurate diagnosis.
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How Can I Prevent Knee Pain
Although you canât prevent all injuries, you can take these steps to make them less likely.
- Stop exercising if you feel pain in your knee.
- If you want to make your workout more intense, always do it gradually.
- Stretch your legs before and after physical activity.
- Use kneepads to prevent bursitis, especially if you have to kneel a lot.
- Wear shoes that fit well and offer enough support.
- Keep your thigh muscles strong with regular stretching and strengthening.
- If youâre overweight, work to drop some pounds so thereâs less stress on all of your joints, including your knees.
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.
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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 , 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.;
Not To Be Missed If You Have Pain Behind The Knee Or Back Of The Leg
- It is very important to note that pain at the back of your knee may be;referred pain from your lower back. This referred pain would most likely be a poorly localized, dull ache, not related to knee movements, but aggravated by movements in your lower back So do be aware of that possibility
- Deep Vein Thrombosis;;may occur following surgery, a period of immobilization such as a long flight or time spent on extended bed rest, following an injury, in woman taking estrogen, or in obese patients. It may present as pain in the calf, or in the back of the knee. There may be some mild swelling, tenderness or skin discoloration. If you are worried you may have a DVT, speak to your doctor to arrange for further investigations such as a Doppler ultrasound.;
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Swelling Behind The Knee
Reviewed by:;KPE Medical Review Board
There are a number of different causes of swelling behind the knee.
The most common is a Bakers Cyst where there is inflammation of the popliteal bursa at the back of the knee.
Sometimes there is back of knee swelling and pain, other times there is a lump behind the knee but no pain associated with it. It might be that only one knee is swollen, or there may be swelling behind both knees.
Most times when the back of the knee is swollen, it can be treated with a combination of rest, regular ice, compression bandages, exercises and physical therapy, but some case may require knee surgery.
Is Knee Pain Due To Gout Or Something Else
Most people with gout in the knee experience intense pain during a gout attack. Swelling may also be noticeable during an active flare, as well as redness and warmth.
The pain may develop in the night and hurt continuously for up to two weeks before the flare subsides, with the most intense pain in the first 24 hours. But if gout is not treated, typically with medication to lower uric acid levels, gout flares will recur and over time and affect more joints, including the knee.
Doctors cant say for sure why gout flares occur more often at night but, according to a 2015 study, it might be because your body temperature goes down at night, which could make uric acid more likely to crystallize.
Although the pain of a gout attack is distinct, there may be other reasons for your knee pain you should be aware of.
Your knee pain could be caused by buildup of different kinds of crystals called calcium pyrophosphate . Doctors can examine fluid in your inflamed knee to determine if the crystals are uric acid or calcium pyrophosphate.
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Or Something Known As Pseudogout
Also known as “false gout” or calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate deposition disease , psuedogout can also cause swelling of the knee joint. Like gout, pseudogout is also considered a form of arthritis. Unlike gout, it primarily affects the wrists and knees. In pseudogout, a form of calcium crystals accumulate in joint cartilage and fluid, causing the same sudden joint pain and swelling as gout.
Pseudogout typically affects people over the age of 60, according to The Cleveland Clinic. People who have osteoarthritis, thyroid or metabolic issues, or kidney disease are also more likely to experience it.
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.
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Other Inner Knee Pain Treatments
If your inner knee pain worsens after several days, or if basic at-home remedies dont alleviate symptoms, you should go see your doctor.
Some treatment methods for more serious knee injuries include:
- Steroid injection. This injection is used to treat pes anserine bursitis.
- Physical therapy. Therapy often involves stretching, exercises, and ultrasound therapy.
Treatment And Prevention Tips For Pain Behind The Knee
When you experience knee pain that doesnt go away within a day or two, you should seriously consider health care. Here are a few tips on protecting your knee in situations where you might have a minor knee injury or experience reoccurring knee problems.
- Avoid activities that cause pain
- Apply ice
- Keep knee raised to bring down any swelling
- Sleep with a pillow underneath or between your knees
- Avoid running up and down stairs walk carefully
- Dont forget to warm up before exercising or engaging in sports
- When you run, do it on smooth, soft surfaces instead of rough pavement
- Swim instead of running
- If you are overweight, consider ways to lose a few pounds
- Make sure you wear well-made running shoes
- Consider shoe inserts for better arch support
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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.