Knee effusion Treatments

About Knee effusion

A traumatic right knee effusion. Note the swelling lateral to the kneecap as marked by the arrow, courtesy of James Heilman, MD.

Knee effusion or swelling of the knee (colloquially known as water on the knee) occurs when excess fluid accumulates in or around the knee joint. There are many common causes for the swelling, including arthritis, injury to the ligaments or meniscus, or when fluid collects in the bursa. This condition is known as prepatellar bursitis.

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Physiotherapy

If your thigh (quadriceps) muscle or hamstring muscles are weak, your doctor may refer you to a physiotherapist to learn how to strengthen these muscles to better support your knee.

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Treatment listed as Cure

Visit to your health care provider

In some cases, a visit to your health care provider is required. You may need a stronger pain reliever, a prescription strength anti inflammatory medicine or possibly antibiotics if the effusion was caused by infection. Depending on the severity your knee may have to be drained, corrective surgery done or even joint replacement.

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Treatment listed as Cure

Tylenol, Advil or Aleve

There are many over the counter pain medications available. Tylenol, Advil and Aleve are a few that you may have at home. The goal is to lower inflammation levels in the affected joint. This will take pressure off the knee cap and the skin covering it. Which in turn, eases the pain.

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Treatment listed as Cure

Elevate and ice

Using a pillow or other item, prop your knee up higher than heart level. Cold packs assist in reducing swelling and relieving pain. Use a bag of ice or a package of frozen vegetables to place on the affected area for ten to twenty minutes. Repeat this as needed.

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Treatment listed as Cure

Rest the leg

The most common form of first aid for water on the knee is to rest the leg itself. Do not engage in activity that requires your knee to bear weight. When the knee is swollen, feels tight or is painful this is not the time to push limits as doing so could cause further damage to the joint.

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Treatment listed as Cure
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