A swollen knee problem is visibly increasing in day by day in the mass. This typical knee problem may be caused due to several reasons. The treatment of this problem will depend upon the cause of the swelling. The swollen knee can at times be typically painful and can cause a massive problem in movements. Once the symptoms are noticed, it shouldn’t be neglected. It becomes stiffer to cure when left untreated for a long time.
Symptoms of Knee Swelling
The symptoms are easy to figure out. A rapid or gradual swelling around the knee joint is the visible symptom of knee swelling. In particular cases the swelling may appear slowly. In those cases acute pain and problems in the joint movements are signs of swelling.
Causes of Knee Swelling
Different reasons can result in knee swelling. Based o the cause we classify the reasons as follows;
Accumulation of fluid
The knee joint is surrounded by a capsule like sac. The sac contains synovial fluids. This fluid nourishes the nerves at the joint and prevents friction in the joint area. Due different reasons excess amount of body fluid can get accumulated in the sac and that in turn can cause a swollen knee. Depending on the accumulating fluid we may further classify two reasons.
Accumulation of blood
This phenomenon is called the Haemarthrosis. This is usually caused by injuries. Due to sudden thrust or pressure the joint starts bleeding. This extra blood gets accumulated in the sac and causes swelling. This type of swelling usually takes place very rapidly.
Accumulation of synovial fluid
This is caused due to unbalanced effusion of water inside the knee sac. The volume of the fluid gradually crosses the normal range and that causes slow and progressive knee swelling.
Based on the pace or increase rate of swelling we can further classify the knee swelling as follows:
This type of swelling usually appears due sudden injuries. The sudden pressure built up on the joint damages the joint structure and causes bleeding. This blood gets accumulated in the covering sac and causes swelling. The damage is basically of 3 types.
1. Ligament tears
2. Meniscus tear
3. Bone fracture.
Due to injury, the ligaments can be partially stressed or can even get ruptured. This causes intense swelling within minutes. The meniscus is the covering sheath for cartilages. When stressed or ruptured these also cause bleeding. On the other hand breakage of one of the knee bones can be extremely painful, causing extreme swelling and intense pain around the knee joints.
Rapid swelling may be caused due infections around the joint. Infections usually increase the amount of fluid accumulation in the sac resulting knee swelling. Gout a typical disease caused due enhanced level of uric acid in blood. This acid creates sharp crystalline structures around the joint, which in turn causes water accumulation in the knee region.
Gradual or slow swelling
Small injuries can be a cause for gradual swelling. A strained ligament or slightly damaged meniscus can create water effusion in the sac slowly. As the volume of the fluid increases, it slowly swells the knee. Knee sprains are usually characterized by gradual swelling.
Arthritis is the most pronounced reason of slow knee swelling. This is caused due to gradual wear and tear of the cartilages and the bones of the joint. These damaged and decayed joints causes generation of extra fluid around the joint so that the friction around the components is lessened. It causes slow swelling. The swelling is persistent in nature. Whenever the knee joints are forced to work hard, they get irritated and thus swelling takes place.
Treatment for knee swelling
In case of painful and infection caused swelling anti-inflammatory drugs can be used. Always try not to use steroidal drugs as they have a thousand and one negative side effects. Drugs of ibuprofen category can be used safely.
This is the process of sucking out the water or fluid from the sac using a needle externally. This process should be practiced only by doctors and never ever try this domestically as it may cause further deterioration if not done properly.
In case of injury caused rapid swelling ice therapy is a real effective treatment. It slows down the blood flow and thus controls swelling. It reduces the intense pain to some extent too. But you need to take medical advice before doing so.
Use of knee braces and tube grips can really be helpful at times. These are particularly advised for arthritis patients. A prescribed size of brace should be used to get effective results.
Cortisone injection therapy
It is a steroidal hormone treatment. It controls the immune mechanism of the body, and that in turn controls the inflammation. This therapy needs extreme medical supervision.
Prevention is always better than cure! So, practice safe living and avoid injuries. Nutritional diet and regular workout are good measures of avoiding future knee problems.