Knee swelling


Legs | Orthopaedics | Knee swelling (Disease)


Description

Depending upon the cause, knee swelling may be painful or may not produce any other symptoms. In some cases, you may notice tenderness, warmth, difficulties with moving your knee joint, muscle weakness, or bleeding or bruising.

Causes and Risk factors

Swelling of the knee can be caused by injuries to the joint as well as many different medical conditions. Injuries to your knee, including sprains (damage to the stabilizing ligaments of the joint), can lead to diffuse swelling of the knee area.

Other possible causes of knee swelling include abscesses (infections); tumors of the skin, soft tissue, or bones; bleeding; or deformity of the joint accompanying fracture of any of the bones of the knee joint. Pain can occur in the knee from diseases or conditions that involve the knee joint, the soft tissues and bones surrounding the knee, or the nerves that supply sensation to the knee area. In fact, the knee joint is the most commonly involved joint in rheumatic diseases, immune diseases that affect various tissues of the body including the joints to cause arthritis.

Swelling of the knee joint from arthritis can lead to a localized collection of fluid accumulating in a cyst behind the knee. This is referred to as a Baker cyst and is a common cause of pain at the back of the knee.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Infections of the bone or joint can rarely be a serious cause of knee pain and have associated signs of infection including fever, extreme heat, warmth of the joint, chills of the body, and may be associated with puncture wounds in the area around the knee. These infections are often diagnosed by aspirating joint fluid accumulations with a needle (joint aspiration) and examining the fluid microscopically and with microbial culture techniques. Treatment involves antibiotics and sometimes joint surgery.

Tumors involving the joint are extremely rare (for example, synovial sarcomas, and giant cell tumors). They can cause ambulatory problems with local pain. Treatment usually involves surgery; a few individuals may require amputation of the knee and lower leg. Treatments and surgery depend on the tumor type.

The collateral ligament on the inside of the knee joint can become calcified and is referred to as Pellegrini-Stieda syndrome. With this condition, the knee can become inflamed and can be treated conservatively with ice packs, immobilization, and rest. ...