Why You Should Get A Clear Knee Pain Diagnosis
At Wimbledon Clinics, we keep things scientific, which means we give you the right treatment from the start so you dont have to waste your precious time and money.
We do this by giving you a clear diagnosis and an assessment of the severity of the problem, which may include an MRI scan. Only then do we recommend the treatment options to help you get back to your best as soon as possible.
These may include rest, anti-inflammatory tablets and, on occasion, steroid injections.
For more significant injuries, such as those to ligaments, some form of knee support or knee brace may be required but this would normally only be fitted after a clear knee pain diagnosis has been made.
For people with osteoarthritic knees, treatment can include injections of hyaluronic acid or PRP .
These injections can reduce pain and knee swelling with improvements sometimes lasting up to a year.
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.
What Else Can Help
In most cases of a swollen knee, the whole joint swells up, but there are some knee conditions where the swelling forms a pocket at the back of the knee – find out more in the swelling behind the knee section.
SAFETY ADVICE: Fluid on the knee can indicate a serious problem, and you should always see your doctor with any unexplained or persistent knee swelling.
If you have other symptoms besides a swollen knee such as instability, pain on the stairs or popping/cracking noises, then visit the knee symptoms guide for help working out what is wrong.
Page Last Updated: 12/09/21
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Torn Meniscus Swollen Knee
Having knee pain or stiffness or a swollen knee. Being unable to fully bend or straighten your leg. What are the complications of a torn meniscus? If your torn meniscus doesnt heal properly, your knee wont be as stable as it was before the injury. That can increase your risk of other knee injuries like an ACL tear or other torn ligament.
Can Knee Injuries Be Prevented
To help prevent knee injuries:
- Make sure your kids wear the recommended protective equipment for sports .
- Make sure your kids wear supportive athletic shoes that are in good condition.
- During workouts, kids should always warm up and cool down.
- Encourage kids to do regular strength training to support muscles, and stretching or yoga to improve flexibility.
- When jumping, kids should bend the knees while landing. This takes pressure off the ACL and prevents injury.
- If kids cut laterally or pivot frequently , encourage them to crouch and bend at the knees and hips to reduce the chances of an ACL injury.
- For kids who play just one sport, conditioning and training year-round even if it’s at a lower intensity than during the competitive season can help them stay in shape and make an injury less likely.
Why Does The Knee Swell
A swollen knee is a common problem that affects people of all ages. Knee swelling typically indicates a problem somewhere inside the knee joint.
The knee has a joint capsule, which is like a sac that surrounds the whole joint. The capsule contains synovial fluid which nourishes and lubricates the joint so that it can move smoothly, think of it like the oil in your car. The joint capsule acts as container, keeping the fluid within the knee joint.
A swollen knee usually develops when excess fluid builds up inside the joint capsule and is caused by either:
- Bleeding in the Joint: aka Haemarthrosis. This is normally caused by an injury and the knee swelling comes on rapidly . The swelling can be intense making the knee feel very tight.
- Accumulation of Synovial Fluid: aka knee joint effusion or water on the knee. This type of swollen knee tends to come on gradually and may come and go, varying in degrees of severity.
Usually, knee swelling remains inside the knee joint as the joint capsule acts like a barrier, preventing the fluid from escaping. However, it can also occur outside the joint capsule, known as extra-articular swelling, such as with knee bursitis.
What Will My Recovery Be Like After Knee Surgery
Recovery times can vary from person-to-person. What one person experiences when recovering from knee surgery may not be what you experience. Some tips to keep in mind as you recover can include:
- Avoiding strenuous activities.
- Keeping your knee propped up for a few days after surgery to decrease swelling or any pain you may feel.
- Taking all of your pain and antibiotic medications as instructed by your healthcare provider.
- Going to your follow up appointment with your provider several days after your surgery.
- Doing physical therapy to continue strengthening your knee if its been suggested by your provider.
After surgery, you may feel a little tenderness and throbbing in your knee. Reach out to your provider if this, or any of pain, continues as you recover. You should be able to drive two weeks after your surgery. Talk to your provider about when you can do other activities.
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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.
Why Is My Knee Bruised And Swollen
Why is my knee bruised and swollenKnee bruises can be subcutaneous , intramuscular , or periosteal , all of which can cause pain and swelling around the bruised area. All three types of bruises are treated the same way, but bone bruises will take much longer to heal than a subcutaneous bruise .
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Why Would A Teenager Have Knee Pain
Knee pain isnt a condition that only happens to older people. Despite being young, your teenager can develop knee pain too.
Knee pain in teens is a common result of overuse, but also results from specific knee injuries and medical conditions that affect the knee. Knee pain can also be temporary and not related to an injury, but rather a change in your teens level of activity or sport.
Because of the many different reasons for knee pain, if your teen complains of pain, its wise to get it checked. Never think that knee pain in your teen is simply growing pains. This is not a typical cause of knee pain in a teenager.
Treatment For A Swelling On Side Of Knee
With those that have a history of osteoarthritis and swelling after strenuous activity, like a workout or run, over-the-counter medications will help alleviate the pain. Patient may also apply compression sleeves to decrease the swelling during and after activity. Another way to decrease swelling at home is to use R.I.C.E.: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
Knee is swollen from Bursitis
- Rest Rest the joint and refrain from hard workouts, sports, and prolonged activity for 24-48 hours. Normal range of motion should continue to decrease joint stiffening.
REST for the RICE Protocol
- Ice Ice can be applied to the knee 3-4 times a day for 15-20 minutes at a time. Ice should never be applied directly to the skin.
Ice for the RICE Protocol
- Compression An ace bandage, compression sleeve or socks may not only reduce swelling already present, but may limit knee swelling during activity.
Compression Socks for the RICE Protocol
- Elevation Reducing blood flow to the area by sitting with the leg on a stool or lying down with the foot on a pillow, will reduce swelling.
Elevation Above Your Heart for RICE
Image of a swollen knee
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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.
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Or You May Have A Bakers Cyst
Also known as popliteal or synovial cysts, Bakers cysts are fluid-filled lumps that develop on the back of the knee. According to Dr. Gladstone, theyre pretty common and nothing to be too alarmed about.
Deep within the knee joint, theres a layer of thin tissue called the capsule between your bones, Dr. Gladstone explains. When some sort of damage causes swelling within the knee joint, the pressure pushes extra fluid in the capsule out behind the knee joint, essentially creating a what looks like a swollen ball at the back of the knee.
Not typically too painful, Bakers cysts are often caused by arthritis or an acute injury within the knee. In some cases, they disappear on their own, but often reoccur if you dont treat the underlying cause.
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Diagnosing A Swollen Knee
Your doctor may want to take a sample of the knee fluid to test for infection or disease. The result can help determine the cause of your swollen knee.
- Clear knee fluid: Clear fluid in a swollen knee is usually due to some form of inflammation. The most common reason is osteoarthritis.
- Cloudy knee fluid: if the fluid in your knee is cloudy, then the possible diagnoses include Gout, Lyme Disease, or an early infection.
- Bloody knee fluid: if the fluid taken out of your knee is bloody then you likely have a torn Meniscus, injured a ligament, or potentially have a small fracture in the knee. When a fracture is present, we will also see a little fat in the fluid.
- Pus: if the fluid in your knee looks like pus then you have a very serious infection.
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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Medical History And Physical Examination
Your doctor will talk with you about your symptoms, such as the severity of your pain, how long you have had symptoms, and your risk factors for developing prepatellar bursitis.
Your doctor will likely ask questions regarding any signs or symptoms of infection, such as fever or chills. Prepatellar bursitis caused by an infection requires a different treatment plan.
During the physical examination, your doctor will inspect your affected knee and compare it to your healthy knee. He or she will examine your knee, checking for tenderness, and will also assess the range of motion in your knee and whether pain prevents you from bending it.
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.
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Nutrients To Heal Knee Pain
- Search for Why is the back of my knee swollen. Find Symptoms,Causes and Treatments of Leg-Related Disease.For Your Health
- A Bakers cyst is a common cause of a swollen area or lump behind the knee. This condition develops when joint fluid leaks out from the joint cavity into the tissues behind the knee. Other causes include infections, bleeding, trauma, and rarely, tumors. Infectious causes of behind knee swellin
- 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
- The buildup of fluid in your knee can lead to the formation of a Bakers cyst in the back of your knee. A swollen Bakers cyst can be painful, but usually improves with icing and compression. If the swelling is severe, you might need to have fluid removed
- A variety of issues can cause knee swelling, including injuries and medical conditions such as arthritis. A person can treat some of these causes at home, while other issues require care from a..
- When some sort of damage causes swelling within the knee joint, the pressure pushes extra fluid in the capsule out behind the knee joint, essentially creating a what looks like a swollen ball at..
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.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Arthritis Of The Knee
There are many signs and symptoms of arthritis of the knee:
- Creaking, clicking, grinding or snapping noises .
- Difficulty walking.
- Joint pain that changes depending on the weather.
- Joint stiffness.
- Knee joint pain that progresses slowly or pain that happens suddenly.
- Skin redness.
- Your knee locks or sticks when its trying to move.
- Warm skin.
Pain and swelling are the most common symptoms of arthritis of the knee. Some treatments might reduce the severity of your symptoms or even stall the progression. See your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of knee arthritis.
Treatments That Have Already Been Instituted
Many patients have undergone physiotherapy, steroid injection or previous arthroscopy. The success of previous therapies guides further management.
If a patient has not undergone physiotherapy this may be the first port of call particularly in anterior knee pain related to patellofemoral joint dysfunction. History of previous surgery, in particular total knee replacement or cruciate ligament reconstruction, associated with new onset of symptoms should warrant a referral to the orthopaedic surgeon.
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Urgent Advice: Get Advice From 111 Now If:
- your knee is very painful
- you cannot move your knee or put any weight on it
- your knee is badly swollen or has changed shape
- you have a very high temperature, feel hot and shivery, and have redness or heat around your knee this can be a sign of infection
111 will tell you what to do. They can tell you the right place to get help if you need to see someone.
Go to 111.nhs.uk or .
You can also go to an urgent treatment centre if you need to see someone now.
Theyre also called walk-in centres or minor injuries units.
You may be seen quicker than you would at A& E.
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