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Understand all about Knee Inflammation: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jun 23, 2014
4.8 / 5(4 Ratings)
Quick Bites

  • Fluid build-up under the kneecap causes knee inflammation.
  • Difficulty in movement is the most common symptom.
  • There are numerous treatment options available, common being rest.
  • Knee surgery is the last option left when nothing seems to work.

More

Pain in the knee can be a constant source of worry among athletes, adults and people who have had injuries to the area earlier in their life. It can create a lot of pain in the particular joint and therefore, interfere with the mobility.

Causes

Knee inflammation occurs when there is fluid build-up under the kneecap as well as joints. The exact cause of inflammation of the knee can vary from one person to another; while in some people the inflammation may be a result of diseases, in others it may be because of injuries. Fortunately, knee inflammation arising as a result of different causes can be eliminated or reduced significantly with the help of treatment. Here are some of the causes of knee inflammation.


Inflammation of the Knee

Arthritis

Arthritis is one of the most common causes of knee inflammation. The two most common of the arthritis types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. These two are the most common causes of knee inflammation. When suffering from either of these two, the patient experiences a significant amount of stiffness in the knee besides additional inflammation.

Bursitis

Bursa refers to small, fluid-filled sacs that lower the amount of friction between the bones as well as muscles and tendons. Bursitis is a medical condition in which the bursa in the knee becomes inflamed. This condition is most commonly experienced in the bursa that is located just above the kneecap.

Meniscus Tear

This is a common type of injury that occurs when one gets a tear in cartilage or rubbery tissue that helps to cushion the knee. The tear may be a result of strenuous muscle function or activity or ageing in the process of which the meniscus breakdown. The patient may need to go through surgery if the condition is severe; otherwise, rest and physical therapy along with treatment at home can allow the patient to recover depending on the extent of the tear.

Tendinitis

Tendons are cord-like tissues that connect and muscles and the bones. Knee tendinitis that is a consequence of inflammation can be caused by an injury to the knee or as a result of overuse. One should avoid any activity that may lead to tendinitis or make use of anti-inflammatory gels as well as medications.

There are a variety of causes of knee inflammation that can produce swelling as well as pain and are therefore, required to be given immediate treatment or attention by a medical professional. In the most severe cases, your doctor may recommend you to undergo surgery for complete recovery and repair of the knee. If you have been suffering from pain in the knee that persists, it is recommended that you visit your doctor.


inflammation of the knee


Symptoms of Knee Inflammation

One of the most common knee inflammation symptoms is a difficulty in mobility. You’d experience some amount of stiffness in the knee and once it has been in a stable position for a long time, it may seem difficult to move it at all. Pain is a common symptom of this condition as well. With significant amount of stiffness as the inflammation progresses, you may also experience pain when trying to move the knee. The pain is likely to increase for as long as you avoid seeking treatment. There will also be visible amount of swelling around the knee area. Knee inflammation symptoms get better with treatment.

Treatment Options for Knee Inflammation

There are a variety of treatment options for those looking forward to getting relief from knee inflammation and the subsequent pain and discomfort. Here are some of the available knee inflammation treatment options.

Rest

The best way in which you can reduce swelling as well as knee inflammation is to try and rest the knee as much as possible. Further mobility or engagement in strenuous activities can worsen the degree of inflammation. Doctors advise people suffering from knee problems to immediately terminate all the activities that put undue pressure on their knee. They also recommend that the knee be placed on an elevated platform. Normal activities can be resumed once the patient has been released from the hospital. After a certain period of rest, patients have reported to experience improvement in the tenderness as well as pain in the affected area of the knee.

The patients may also wrap their knee with a bandage or protective brace that can be easily purchased from the market. This can stabilise the knee and perhaps further damage to the knee. If you know any fitness or sports trainer, you could seek suggestions on the kind of knee brace to use as the latter depends on the type of injury sustained to trigger knee inflammation. In rare cases, some people may need crutches to use along with the brace.

Anti-inflammatory Pills and Pain-killers

Anti-inflammatory medications are prescribed to treat knee inflammation symptoms such as swelling as well as pain. These pills can be purchased over the counter. If your pain does not subside with these medications, your doctor will prescribe narcotics i.e. drugs that can cause dizziness and drowsiness. You will, however, be advised to not take these when driving or working.


causes of knee inflammation

Physical Therapy

Most patients suffering from inflammation of the knee take to physical therapy as a form of extensive treatment. Orthopedists prescribe physical therapy exercises that try to stretch and flex the knee. Stretching and flexing of the knee allows it to prevent stiffness and increase the range of motion; both of these reduce build-up of fluid in the area. Exercising the knee also lubricates the joint, helping the knee to become stronger and move better. This is therefore, a fruitful form of knee replacement treatment for the long-term.

Steroid Shots

Doctors may prescribe steroid shot to you to pacify the causes of knee inflammation (such as arthritis, bursitis, etc.). Steroid shots are originally corticosteroid injections that can relieve pain for a really long time i.e. from weeks to even months. Although, this is a temporary solution for the problem, you can pursue physical therapy to make your knees stronger for the long-term. Physical therapy can help you get rid of the condition that caused the inflammation.

Knee Surgery

If not even one of the available knee inflammation treatment seems to work out for you, you could be recommended to undergo knee surgery. These are called knee arthroscopy and total knee replacement surgery. In knee arthroscopy, the orthopaedist tries to examine the knee and repair all the joints as well as cartilages that have been damaged. In total knee replacement surgery, the knee is replaced with a kneecap and artificial joint.

If you have some amount of discomfort in the knees, seek the attention of your doctor at the earliest for appropriate and timely knee inflammation treatment.

Image Courtesy: gettyimages.in

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