How to Treat a Swollen Knee
Any damage to the tendons, ligaments, or meniscus can cause knee inflammation. Swelling in the knee joint can be caused by a variety of medical conditions, including arthritis. Even overuse can cause swollen knee pain. It's possible that the swelling is within the knee joint or in the surrounding tissue. The latter is referred to as "water on the knee." You might attempt several home remedies after you've diagnosed a swollen knee. Suppose your knee continues to swell or is painful. You should seek a medical professional such as a doctor or a physical therapist for advice and swollen knee treatment in that case.
A damaged knee can severely restrict your regular activities. If you're an athlete, it can keep you out for a significant amount of the season. However, life occurs, and injuries do happen, no matter how careful you are. In this guide, we'll go over the knee's anatomy, swollen knee causes, and knee swelling treatment.
An Overview Of Knee Anatomy
The knee is the joint where the thigh bone (femur) meets the shin bone in the middle of the leg (the tibia). The patella is the spherical piece of bone in the front of the knee. There is cartilage between these bones, which is maintained in place by tendons and ligaments.
Knee pain, discomfort, swelling, and a limitation in the leg's range of motion are likely to develop from an injury to any of these bodily parts. You won't be able to bear weight on your knee if you have a fracture. You'll feel pain as you try to move the joint if the injury is to the cartilage. If the tendons are injured, you'll feel a sharp, shooting pain that radiates down the remainder of your leg. You can get relief from knee pain with stretches, exercises, yoga, pilates, and physical therapy treatment.
Causes Of A Swollen Knee
What causes knee pain?
Several factors can cause a swelling knee:
- A traumatic event (by a fall, hit, or car accident)
- Excessive usage and stress on the knees (whether by sports or the nature of your job)
- Ailment (such as rheumatoid arthritis)
The knee will enlarge due to an accumulation of fluid regardless of the cause. The amount of fluid retained is determined by the underlying reason for oedema.
- Trauma: The fluid will most likely be blood if the injury was caused by trauma. Hemarthrosis is the medical term for this condition, and it necessitates quick medical intervention. Hematomas are another possibility (a pooling of blood outside of blood vessels). Depending on the power of impact, the severity will vary. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories can help relieve the symptoms if they're minor.
- Overuse: When overuse is the cause, the patient will most likely have a swollen bursa. Bursae are tiny sacs found in every human joint. They contain fluid and serve as cushions between bones, muscles, and tendons. The amount of bursa in larger joints, such as the knee, is more significant. The bursa might get irritated and inflamed if your work or sport requires you to repeat the same kinds of knee movements over and over. This is more likely to occur on the inside knee or your kneecap and feels warm to the touch.
- Ailment: Swelling of the joint can be caused by rheumatoid arthritis or haemophilia, for example.
How to Reduce Swelling in the Knee
The R.I.C.E. Formula is a four-step process commonly used for swollen knee relief. The R.I.C.E acronym stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
1. Rest: It will provide time for the joint to heal and recover. Take a 24-hour or longer rest from sports and other activities. People with knee swelling should gently flex and straighten their knees several times a day to maintain range of motion
2. Ice: Excess knee swelling can be treated by icing, which is a simple and efficient method. Cold therapy can help to alleviate symptoms by doing the following:
- Constricting surrounding blood arteries, reducing blood flow and inflammation
- Slowing the formation of synovial joint fluid in the knee (—synovial joint fluid is typically beneficial, but it can lead to swelling and discomfort in the knee)
- Taking the brain's attention away from pain signals
Use a cold compress for no more than 20 minutes at a time on the knee. This can be repeated multiple times during the day.
Applying ice should never be done directly to the skin. Place a cloth or another material between the ice pack and your skin to avoid skin injury. People with Raynaud's Syndrome or nerve damage may not be able to benefit from cold therapy.
3. Compression: It entails wrapping an elastic bandage around the afflicted joint (such as an Ace bandage). Compression can assist in limiting or reducing oedema.
Typically, a 3" to 4" wide bandage is advised. (Using a bandage with a narrower breadth increases the danger of cutting off circulation). If the bandage is excessively tight, loosen it or re-wrap it. Wrapping the inflamed knee too firmly can produce numbness, tingling, more significant discomfort, coldness, or oedema. It's important to remember that a compression bandage will not support or protect the knee from additional injuries.
4. Elevation: Elevating the affected leg can help relieve inflammation, oedema, and discomfort by reducing blood flow to the knee. The injured leg should be elevated above the heart if possible. Lie down on your back with your knee and calf pushed up on pillows. Because the knee lies below the heart, sitting with the affected leg elevated on a stool or ottoman is less beneficial. Those who suffer from persistent knee swelling can consider investing in a leg elevating pillow. These pillows are usually constructed of foam and are designed to provide firm, supportive support.
Swelling usually goes down in 1 to 3 days when using the R.I.C.E. swollen knee remedy. Contact a doctor or visit a physical therapy clinic if the swelling does not go down after a few days of starting R.I.C.E. or if the swelling and pain intensify.
Hot & Cold Therapy for Your Knee
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Stretch your knee muscles frequently while exercising to help them heal and strengthen. If you're starting something new, don't overwork yourself and take it slowly. Avoid cramps by drinking plenty of water. If you get more pain in your legs, consult your doctor or seek help from the nearest physical therapy clinic for knee pain relief.
About the Author
Samantha does not have a personal blog but writes on the healthcare industry since a decade for now. She is excellent at conveying thoughts and tips through storytelling.
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