Dealing with knee effusion
Knee effusion is a condition where there is excess accumulation of fluids around the knee joint. It can be due to overuse, injury and chronic health conditions such as osteoarthritis. Knee effusion can be a symptom of a serious medical condition. Severe swelling can result to weakening of the leg muscle and old people are susceptible to this condition and increase the risk of falling. Wear and tear of the knee joints is prone to develop knee effusion.
Causes of knee effusion
- Osteoarthritis due to wearing off of meniscus caused by repetitive stress and injury
- Twisting of the knee
- Hyperextension of the knee
- Sudden stop
- A direct blow on the knee
- Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, infections, bursitis and tumors
- The skin around the affected area looks puffy compared to the other knee
- Mild to severe pain
- Limited range of movement
- Difficulty in bending or straightening the leg completely
- The affected area becomes unstable
- Clicking sound can be heard or locking of the knee
- Swelling due to infection
- Fever and chills
- The area is hot and tender when touched
- Take plenty of rest especially the affected knee. Avoid walking or putting weight on the area for fast healing of the condition.
- Apply an ice pack on the area. Place for at least 15 to 20 minutes to reduce the swelling and the pain.
- Elevate the affected area higher than the level of the heart to minimize the inflammation. Raise the knee using several pillows.
- Take the prescribed over-the-counter medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to lessen the pain and the inflammation.
- Joint aspiration – the knee is numbed by anesthetic, and a needle is used to draw out the accumulated fluid around the knee. The fluid is then analyzed for presence of bacteria, blood or uric acid crystals.
- Perform gentle exercises with the help of the physical therapist to improve strength and restore range of movement of the affected knee.
- Keep the muscles of the leg strong by performing weight-bearing exercises such as jogging, walking, weight training and gardening to lessen the risk of knee swelling and pain.
- Rest the knee by performing regularly low-impact activities such as cycling or swimming.
- Maintain a healthy weight to lessen excessive stressing of the joints and minimize the wearing and tearing of the joints.