Knee pain, as well as conditions like knee osteoarthritis, are on the rise throughout the country. According to one study, incidents of knee pain have doubled in women and tripled in men.
One of the most common symptoms that accompanies knee pain is knee swelling. Sometimes, swelling can even occur without any pain.
If you're dealing with a swollen knee (with or without pain) and aren't sure what to do, keep reading. Everything you need to know about correcting and preventing swelling is explained down below.
Reasons Your Knee Is Swollen
Before we dive into the steps you can take to correct and prevent knee swelling, it first helps to know what's causing your swelling in the first place. There are a lot of different issues that can contribute to swelling of the knee, including the following:
Often, when you're dealing with acute knee swelling, it's the result of an injury. Have you had a bad fall recently, or some kind of trauma to your knee, for example? If this is the case, it's likely the cause of your swelling.
Osteoarthritis is a type of joint inflammation that occurs when the cartilage surrounding your joints starts to break down. Knee osteoarthritis is a very common type of osteoarthritis and can cause symptoms like knee pain and knee swelling.
The bursa is a sac of fluid located at the joint to protect it. If that sac becomes inflamed, this is known as bursitis. Common symptoms of bursitis include knee pain and swelling, as well as a "squishy" feeling when you touch the area around the knee.
Gout occurs when uric acid crystals accumulate around a joint. This condition can be quite painful and is often characterized by swelling, warmth, and redness. Many people dealing with gout experience crystal accumulation in their knees, but it can also affect the big toes, wrists, and fingers.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack the joint tissue, mistaking it for a foreign invader. When this occurs, the joints can become inflamed, swollen, and painful.
How to Fix a Swollen Knee
When it comes to addressing knee swelling, there are a lot of different techniques you can use. The following are very effective and can be used on their own or in conjunction with each other:
One of the best things you can do when you're dealing with a swollen knee is to simply stay off of it.
Taking some time to rest can work wonders for reducing swelling and inflammation. This can be especially beneficial if your swelling is the result of an injury or some other kind of acute trauma.
While you're resting, kick up your feet and legs. Elevating your leg so your knee is above your heart can help to reduce inflammation and speed up the healing process. Prop it up on some pillows and enjoy a nice break for a little while.
Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can be helpful when you're struggling with acute swelling too.
Long-term use of these medications can contribute to health problems like digestive disorders, so they're not ideal when you're dealing with chronic swelling. They can be great in a pinch though.
If you struggle with chronic knee swelling, exercise can be useful. Exercise helps to improve blood circulation and range of motion, both of which may reduce swelling.
Now, we're not telling you to go out and run a marathon. Doing some light bodyweight exercises or stretching may help you though.
Cold therapy can work wonders for combatting swelling and inflammation. Whether you place an ice pack on your knee or make use of a more advanced option like a cold rush cold therapy system, you'll find a lot of relief from cold exposure.
How to Avoid Swelling
If you have a chronic health condition like arthritis that contributes to your knee swelling, you'll have to be vigilant if you want to keep swelling at bay as much as possible.
Here are some steps you can take to prevent your knee from swelling or becoming painful:
Continue to Exercise
Once your knee swelling has gone down, you may find yourself being a bit cautious when it comes to exercise. It's fine to ease yourself back into your regular activities, but don't be afraid to get up and move on a regular basis.
Especially if you struggle with chronic swelling, regular exercise can be very useful.
Don't Overexert Yourself
Regular exercise is important, but don't overdo it. If you put too much stress on your joints, you're more likely to find yourself dealing with swelling again.
For some people, losing weight can help to reduce stress on their knee joints. This, in turn, can help them avoid swelling or reduce the severity of their swelling.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Healthy eating can help with weight loss and can also reduce inflammation throughout the body.
Eating a diet designed to reduce inflammation (one that's low in processed food, sugar, and alcohol, and high in protein, healthy fats, and antioxidants) may be especially beneficial.
Talk to Your Doctor
Finally, make sure you're keeping up with your doctor appointments.
If you have a chronic condition like osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, check in with your doctor on a regular basis to ensure your condition isn't getting worse. They can also give you more specific advice on how to keep swelling and other symptoms at bay.
Combat Knee Swelling Today
As you can see, there are a lot of steps you can take to fix a swollen knee and prevent that knee from becoming swollen again in the future.
Regardless of what's causing your knee swelling, if you keep this information in mind, you'll have a much easier time correcting the issue and preventing it as you move forward.
Do you want to learn more about handling swollen knees and other joint issues? If so, check out the Fitness section of our site today for some additional advice.