Complications Of A Swollen Knee
You may develop a Baker’s cyst. This is when joint fluid leaks out into the back of the knee and causes pain and swelling. Treatment usually involves compression and applying ice packs. However, if your swelling is severe, you may need to have the fluid removed using a fine needle.
You may lose muscle mass, especially in your thigh muscles. This is because fluid in your swollen knee can prevent your thigh muscles from working properly over time this causes them to weaken and deteriorate.
How To Treat Knee Inflammation
This article was co-authored by Jonathan Frank, MD. Dr. Jonathan Frank is an Orthopedic Surgeon based in Beverly Hills, California, specializing in sports medicine and joint preservation. Dr. Frank’s practice focuses on minimally invasive, arthroscopic surgery of the knee, shoulder, hip, and elbow. Dr. Frank holds an MD from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine. He completed an orthopedic residency at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and a fellowship in Orthopedic Sports Medicine and Hip Preservation at the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado. He is a staff team physician for the US Ski and Snowboard Team. Dr. Frank is currently a scientific reviewer for top peer-reviewed scientific journals, and his research has been presented at regional, national, and international orthopedic conferences, winning several awards including the prestigious Mark Coventry and William A Grana awards.There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 65,708 times.
When Will My Knee Feel Better
The recovery time depends on your injury. Also, some people naturally heal faster than others.
While you get better, ask your doctor if you can do an activity that won’t aggravate your knee pain. For instance, runners could try swimming or other types of lower-impact cardio.
Whatever you do, don’t rush things. Donât try to return to your regular level of physical activity until you notice these signs:
- You feel no pain in your knee when you bend or straighten it.
- You feel no pain in your knee when you walk, jog, sprint, or jump.
- Your injured knee feels as strong as the other knee.
Rapid Knee Swelling After An Injury
A swollen knee that develops immediately after an injury, within minutes, is usually due to haemarthrosis, where blood accumulates in the joint. Essentially what happens is that a structure inside the knee gets damaged and starts to bleed, building up pressure in the joint.
Knee swelling after an injury is normally profuse and the knee balloons up. It will feel tense and very sore and is often accompanied by bruising, although that may take longer to develop.
There are three main injuries that cause a swollen knee from a haemarthrosis:
A swollen knee caused by a haemarthrosis like these needs urgent medical attention.
Choose from the links or visit the Knee Injuries section to find out more about these common causes of knee swelling, including symptoms and treatment options.
You Notice An Obvious Deformity
If you notice your knee jutting outward in a way it never has before, take note. A dislocated or fractured patella can cause injuries like this, explains Brian Schwabe, C.S.C.S., board-certified sports physical therapist based in Los Angeles.
While some deformities occur over time, when the deformity is a result of an injury, it could be the result of a fracture or chronic wear on the knee joint. If you are already experiencing any kind of misalignment in your lower extremities, then you could be more prone to this type of injury.
If you notice a bone deformity after an injury, he recommends seeking the assistance of an orthopedic doctor immediately. The doctor will likely take x-rays as well as perform a visual diagnosis to determine if you need surgery.
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When To See A Healthcare Provider
Though you may be able to go about your day unbothered by a warm joint, you shouldn’t ignore it. You should seek medical attention if it doesn’t begin to improve within a day, or if you don’t know the cause. If needed, your primary healthcare provider might refer you to a rheumatologist for further investigation.
If a joint is suddenly and excessively hot, don’t wait a day or two to have it looked at. Go the nearest walk-in clinic, urgent care center, or emergency room if your healthcare provider is unable to see you, especially if the joint is painful, swollen, or visibly deformed.
If the pain is extreme and accompanied by fever, chills, dizziness, irregular heartbeat, changes in skin color or appearance, seek emergency care irrespective of whether you have had a recent injury or surgical procedure. Symptoms like these rarely resolve on their own and may lead to a medical crisis if left untreated.
Runners Knee Or Chondromalacia
Runners knee, also known as chondromalacia, occurs as a result of overuse of the knee joint. It is particularly common among runners and other people who put consistent pressure and stress on their knees.
Chondromalacia occurs when the knee cartilage deteriorates, providing less cushioning to the joint.
The first steps in treatment often involve therapies to help reduce pain and swelling and allow the knee to heal. Some treatments include:
- taking over-the-counter pain relief medications
- applying an ice pack to reduce the swelling
- aligning the kneecap with a brace, kneecap-tracking sleeve, or tape
- resting the knee joint
If the knee does not improve, a healthcare team may recommend arthroscopic surgery. This involves smoothing the cartilage to allow it to heal better.
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What Are The Best Exercises For Knee Pain
To rehabilitate the knee area, we need to find the underlying cause of the problem. To do that, we carry out a thorough examination so we can understand the condition of your body and your individual needs. For some people, going straight into exercising an injured area is a very bad idea it can cause more harm than good. Instead, we recommend introducing gentle exercises once your condition has improved and exercises are tolerable. For patients whose injuries have been caused by sports or working out at the gym, we advise that they should stop their gym or training programme until their condition is well managed.
I was shocked at the difference after my first session.
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.
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Arthritis In The Joint
Probably the most common reason why patients have persistent pain after arthroscopic knee surgery is that their knee has damage to the cartilage of the joint that can’t be adequately repaired by an arthroscopic procedure.
It is well established that typical arthritis pain does not warrant an arthroscopic surgery numerous studies have shown that the benefit of arthroscopy in these patients is no better than with nonsurgical treatments.
However, there are times when patients with osteoarthritis may have problems that can improve with arthroscopic surgery, or your surgeon may not be aware of the extent of arthritis until the time of surgery.
In these cases, patients may have an arthroscopic surgery but may have to manage ongoing pain from arthritis that does not improve despite the surgical procedure. The good news is that there are many treatments for knee arthritis, and often these can help patients find relief from their symptoms.
Your Knee Keeps Buckling
When you got hurt, did it feel like your knee gave way underneath you? Were not talking about a temporary sensation of weakness or some wobbliness, but more like your shin and thigh bone werent connecting or staying in place. A buckling knee could signal an ACL tear or a cruciate ligament injury.
It could start with a small pop or crack, or you could feel it after a strenuous exercise session or a soccer game.
Either way, your knee feels unstable or weak. Your knee may give out momentarily, which is scary because you might not trust yourself to walk safely when this happens. According to Dr. Howard Luks, an orthopedic surgeon, this could indicate a tear in the patella or the quadriceps tendon.
These tendons are on the front of your knees and offer a lot of support to keep you upright. If theyre not in top form, youre bound to feel weak in the knees , and you might not be able to walk at all. If this is the case, you could need surgery.
On the other hand, the weakness could be temporary, caused by wear and tear, improper footwear, or a strain. If youre a weekend warrior or youre over the age of 30 , you might experience this symptom on a regular basis.
However, if the weakness is recurring and happens every time you exercise, its possible you have a time bomb thats waiting to happen. When in doubt, seek advice from a physician.
If your knee buckles under you when you are walking, then it usually indicates instability, she says.
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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:
What Causes Warm Joints
RA is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the cells in your joints. RA can cause:
- joint swelling
The hands and wrists are commonly affected joints.
OA also causes joints to be warm. Unlike RA, OA isnt an autoimmune disorder. Its a condition that happens when the cushioning material between the joints starts to break down. This causes the following symptoms in the joint or joints:
Commonly affected areas include the hips, knees, and lower back.
Arthritis-related conditions arent the only factors that can cause your joints to be warm. Other conditions include:
- bursitis: a condition that affects the fluid-filled bursa sacs in the knee
- gout: a form of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid in the body
- Lyme disease: a bacterial infection caused by a tick bite
- rheumatic fever: an inflammatory reaction to the bacteria that causes strep throat
- sickle cell disease: a group of disorders that affect the hemoglobin in red blood cells
- tennis elbow: an overuse injury that affects the tendons that attach to your elbow joint
While joints that are warm rarely represent a medical emergency, they can indicate an infection that leads to a form of arthritis known as infectious or .
Seek immediate medical attention if you experience the following:
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Understanding Knee Pain In Young Adults
Sore, aching knees might seem like a problem only older people experience, but guess what? Plenty of younger people have knee pain, too. But while the symptoms may feel similar, younger people tend to have knee pain for different reasons. And that means theyll need to have different types of care to feel better. Heres what you need to know about knee pain in kids and young adults.
Managing Inner Knee Pain
Immediately after an injury, you can help yourself by resting your leg, using an ice pack and taking painkillers, such as ibuprofen. If you cant put weight on your leg, you may need crutches. Avoid twisting or bending the knee as far as possible.
If your injury is mild, you may not need to see a doctor or physiotherapist, but you should if:
- you cannot put weight on the affected leg
- you have severe pain, even when not bearing weight
- your knee gives way, clicks, or locks
- your knee is deformed or misshapen
- your knee is hot, red or very swollen or you have a fever
- you have pain, swelling, numbness, tingling, or a bluish discoloration in your calf
- youre still in pain after 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:
People should seek medical attention immediately if they think their symptoms may be caused by septic bursitis.
See Gout Treatment
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.
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Burning Pain When Sitting Still
Some people feel more pain at night than during the day.
You might feel more pain when you’re sitting still. Some of us are just too busy to monitor pain. We need debilitating pain to tell us to slow down and be still.
So when you sit down and take a break, do not be surprised if the little niggles of pain begin to visit you.
Your nightly knee pain can also come from reduced hormone signals. When you rest, your hormone signals are reduced. These reduced hormone signals give way for pain signals to reach the brain.
So you’ll feel pain as you try to nod off.
Your blood vessels may also be the culprit for pain at night. When you sleep, your blood vessels increase in diameter. This is a natural process that allows more blood to come to muscles, allowing them to heal.
However, those expanding blood vessels can put pressure on your nerves. This will cause pain such as pain in your knee even as you try to sleep.
Burning Pain In The Back Of The Knee
Pain behind your knee could come from any of a handful of causes. You may have an overuse injury similar to what causes runner’s knee.
You could also have something more severe like a ligament tear. If you tear a ligament or cartilage, you will most likely have pain no matter what you do, even if you stop the activity. You will also have swelling shortly after you injure your knee.
You could also have a Baker’s cyst. A Baker’s cyst is an accumulation of fluid in the bursa behind your knee. You may have pain, or you may just have swelling.
The burning pain behind your knee could be your only symptom. Best of all, a Baker’s cyst isn’t a debilitating diagnosis. You can get the fluid drained and then return to normal activities.
If you suspect a cartilage or ligament tear, begin with cold therapy. This could include a sleeve with an ice pack that you slide over your knee and keep on the knee for fifteen minutes at a time.
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