Many factors can lead to painful fluid building up in your knee joint, leading several patients to seek swollen knee treatment. Trauma — such as a sports injury — or health conditions such as arthritis or extreme leg swelling are the most common reasons.
When your knees or legs feel heavy, rest and over-the-counter medications can be used to treat most cases at home. But in many cases, a well-thought-out and planned treatment of swelling legs and knees by a pain management specialist is the smart course of action.
Swollen Knee Treatment: What’s the Swelling All About?
When your knees swell, there’s a buildup of fluid in or around your joints, which usually leads those suffering to get swollen knee treatment. Runner’s knee, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic arthritis, bursitis, gout, growing pains, and heaviness in legs are usually the causes.
Located between your thigh bone and shinbone, your kneecap joint is the largest joint in the body. There is also cartilage, muscle, ligaments, and nerves in your knees.
If your legs feel heavy as well, just know that both knee and leg swelling can be caused by anything that damages or irritates your knee. Knee swelling can occur if you’ve injured your knee or have a health condition that damages the tissue around it. All in all, swollen knees cause pain, stiffness, redness, or a feeling of warmth or heat.
With rest and over-the-counter medicine, you can treat most causes of knee swelling at home, but a sports injury or trauma should be treated by a health care provider or pain management specialist. Whenever your knee is in severe pain or if you can’t move it, see an expert immediately.
Swollen Knee Treatment Options and Therapy
Swollen knee treatment options — such as massage therapy, movement training, and physical therapy — can also improve mobility, ease pain, and prevent further damage. You may be able to get relief from sharp knee pain or even cure it.
Physical therapy can strengthen and increase flexibility of the muscles around your knee, which will improve its function. Mobility and function can also be improved by routine exercises. Just make sure to avoid overstraining the knees when exercising them.
In cases of severe knee pain or if your legs feel heavy, consult a knee acupuncture specialist when other treatments fail to relieve your issues. Ongoing chronic or acute pain episodes can develop when pain lasts for more than a few months. The length of time chronic pain lasts is usually much longer than you’d expect.
If either of these situations apply to you, seek the help of a pain management specialist for diagnosis and treatment. In developing a customized plan for a healthier and happier you, no matter who you consult, your exact condition and circumstance should always be taken into account.
A Different Kind of Treatment
Nonetheless, don’t discount knee pain acupuncture for treatment of swelling legs and your knee — altogether. It can reduce knee pain, improve function, increase range of motion, decrease inflammation, improve sleep, and enhance your overall well-being. There are energy channels throughout the body known as “meridians” that connect. A needle insertion triggers the release of endorphins, which relieve pain in a natural way. Acupuncture can improve your life, mobility, and health. As a complementary therapy to physical therapy and exercise, acupuncture has been shown to be highly effective in treating pain and extreme leg swelling.
Typically, a series of 30- to 40-minute treatments are required. The needle’s insertion is usually painless. A mild pricking sensation may be experienced by some patients. Symptoms such as tiredness or soreness often subside within hours after treatment. With this established method, pain can be effectively and safely treated. To treat knee pain with acupuncture, you must consult a qualified acupuncturist. A proper consultation should be conducted before you begin treatment.
Common Causes of Swelling: Swollen Knee Treatment
Knee swelling is classified as “traumatic” or “non-traumatic” by health care providers, pain management specialists, and those offering swollen knee treatment. An injury usually causes traumatic knee swelling.
ACL tears (Anterior Cruciate Ligament), MCL tears (Medial Collateral Ligament), meniscus tears, hyperextended knees, sprains, bone fractures, dislocations, and Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS) are the most common causes of knee swelling. The very latter occurs when nerves and bone are invaded by pain within soft tissues surrounding the kneecap.
Knee swelling caused by arthritis is usually non-traumatic. Swelling can be caused by degenerative arthritis (Osteoarthritis) and inflammatory arthritis (such as Rheumatoid Arthritis and Psoriatic Arthritis). Non-traumatic knee swelling can also be caused by autoimmune disorders, infections, bursitis, and tendinitis.
Be sure to rule out water-on-the-knee if you’re experiencing pain. Inflammation of the knee, commonly known as knee effusion or water-on-the-knee, can result from a variety of factors, such as a traumatic injury or a chronic disease like Rheumatoid Arthritis. It’s important to seek medical advice if you experience new, sudden or worsening swelling in your knee. These may result in complications. You should seek medical attention if you have a fever, are unable to put weight on your knee, or cannot feel a pulse below the knee.
Another Reason to Seek Medical Attention
If your legs feel heavy, the cause of your swollen knees might be chronic venous insufficiency. This is evident by extreme leg swelling. These conditions may require treatment for swollen legs, in addition to your knees. When blood is pumped through your body, it flows back to your heart through your veins, and it is pumped upward against gravity. Blood does not flow backward through your veins since your veins and circulation are protected by valves on the inside. The vascular valves in your legs provide a very important function as they circulate blood back to your heart.
When vessels stretch, those valves cannot function as efficiently. The accumulation of blood and waste products in your legs can make them heavy, tired, and swollen. Vein valves may not function properly if they’ve lost elasticity over time, leading many patients to look into treatment of swelling legs.
Swollen Knee Treatment: Alleviating Pain at Home
Depending on the type of swelling and pain you have, your swollen knee treatment will look and feel different. Immediately seek medical attention if you have been injured.
The swelling in your knees, caused by non-traumatic injury, can initially be treated at home. Keep your knees healthy by avoiding sports or activities that cause stress. Pain and inflammation can be relieved with over-the-counter pain relievers or acetaminophen. If you take pain relievers more than 10 days in a row, you should talk to your pain management specialist or health care provider.
Here are some helpful tips when your knee is in pain or when your legs feel heavy:
- Whenever possible, elevate your knees and legs above the level of your heart.
- The best thing to do when you have an injury is to rest. While your knee heals, don’t overuse it.
- To reduce swelling, wrap an elastic bandage around your knee for compression purposes.
- For 15 minutes at a time, apply ice packs wrapped in a thin towel around your knee.
You may be recommended further at-home treatment and advice if you have a specific injury or health condition. It’s possible you might need crutches, a brace to hold your knee in place, physical therapy, or even corticosteroids (anti-inflammatory medicine) to treat your knee pain or extreme leg swelling.
When Surgery is an Option
The majority of people who experience knee swelling or need swollen knee treatment don’t need surgery. However, you may need a knee arthroscopy to repair damage inside your knee if swelling is caused by a torn ligament or meniscus.
When arthritis makes your daily routine difficult or impossible, your doctor may recommend a knee replacement (arthroplasty). If other treatments fail to relieve your symptoms, your provider will usually recommend surgery.
You can discuss your recovery time and expectations with your doctor or surgeon if you need knee surgery — and how it all relates to the rest of your body when your legs feel heavy.
Prevention is Important: Swollen Knee Treatment
Make sure you wear protective equipment when participating in sports or other physical activities so you won’t have to go through swollen knee treatment in the future. In cases of knee pain, do not “play through the pain.”
After intense exercise, allow your body to rest and recover. Also, before exercising or playing sports, stretch and warm up, and cool down and stretch afterward.
Trauma and injuries should be treated by a healthcare provider. When non-traumatic swelling doesn’t improve with at-home treatments in a few days, consult a provider. When you experience severe pain, or you cannot move or use your knee — or if you’ve been involved in an accident or a fallen-from-height incident — visit the emergency room immediately.
If your swollen knee is related to extreme leg swelling, you can reduce your risks and make healthier lifestyle choices. These measures include getting routine massages, taking cold baths, avoiding tight clothing, avoiding smoking, staying routinely active through each day, and exercising. Additionally, it involves eating healthier, keeping your leg muscles toned, elevating and resting your legs, making sure you get enough sleep, and wearing compression socks or stockings.
Wellness and Pain Can Help
A range of options for swollen knee treatment are available at Wellness and Pain. Here, we offer conservative treatments, routine visits, and minimally invasive quick-recovery procedures. We can keep you free of problems. We provide lifestyle education and home care advice to help you avoid and manage issues. Additionally, we quickly relieve inhibiting lifestyle conditions when complications arise.
We personalize patient care plans based on each patient’s condition and unique circumstances to relieve pain, improve mobility and mental space, and improve your overall health.