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Swollen Knee: Possible Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

A swollen knee happens when excess fluid gathers in or around the knee joint. Various other problems, including injuries and medical conditions such as arthritis, can cause knee swelling. To know the actual cause, the doctor might require obtaining a fluid sample to test for infection, disease, or injury.

Moreover, removing some of the fluid from the knee also helps lessen the pain and stiffness of the swelling. The doctor treats this problem according to the underlying cause of the swollen knee.


There are the following signs and symptoms:

​The knee might be very painful due to swelling. In this case, it is difficult to bear weight or any pressure on it. When the patients compare the affected knee to the normal one, they notice a considerable difference because the skin around the kneecap can puff up due to swelling. The difference can be clearly seen between the two knees as demonstrated in the swollen knee pictures.

In stiffness, the joint of the knee comprises excess fluid. Hence the patient might not be able to bend or straighten his leg perfectly. When any person faces the above-mentioned signs and symptoms, they should take them seriously and consult a doctor.


At first, many people do not take it seriously, and it impacts their daily life badly. Some possible causes of knee swelling include:

1- Arthritis

Arthritis is the common cause of it. There is underlying chronic inflammation in that person with arthritis. Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile arthritis, reactive arthritis, infectious arthritis, and gout are different types of arthritis responsible for the knee’s swelling.

2- Injuries

Acute injuries are another cause of it. These injuries occur during different activities such as sports, exercise, or accidents involving blunt force trauma to the knee. Torn ligaments or muscles around the knee from a sudden twist hit, tendonitis from overuse of a tendon or joint, and torn cartilage from trauma are common forms of an acute knee injury.

Pes anserine bursitis can also be caused by repetitive activities, such as squatting, stair climbing, and other work or household activities. In pes anserine bursitis, the conjoined medial knee tendons are inserted into the anteromedial proximal tibia.

Furthermore, ligament injuries are considered for almost 40 percent of knee injuries in which damages of MCL (medial collateral ligament) are the most common. A person who experiences an MCL sprain reports various symptoms, such as immediate sharp pain from the inner section of the knee. Another form of damage that becomes the reason for swelling is lateral collateral ligament (LCL) injury. LCL is the ligament placed in the joint of the knee. Ligaments are thick and strong bands of tissue that join bone to bone. LCL supports keeping the joint of the knee stable and preventing knee instability.

Medial Patellar Retinaculum

It is a knee tendon that crosses the knee joint on the medial side of the patella. It plays a crucial role in forming the fibrous capsule of the knee and in the extension of the joint of the knee. The disturbance in this part of the knee is a pain condition known as patellar tracking disorder.


Chondrosis means cartilage breakdown. It is the deterioration of the cushiony connective tissue between joints due to various factors such as overuse, injury, and age. Chondrosis most frequently happens in the knees, hands, hips, neck, and lower back. It causes pain and stiffness in these body parts.


Infections such as lupus, Lyme disease, etc., can cause swelling in the knee.


Bursitis happens when the fluid-filled sacs in the knee, termed the bursae, become troubled. The most common reasons for bursitis are repeated kneeling or blunt force trauma to the knee. It can happen in any place in or around the joint and is then given a name accordingly. For example, if you have a bursa on the suprapatellar, it will be called the suprapatellar bursa, as shown in the image.


While it is not more common, a benign or malignant tumor can cause a swollen knee. Within swelling, the patient also feels pain. The pain may be more prominent at night or during exercise. A tumor may also be followed by fever, weight loss, and night sweats.

Home Remedies:

At first, when a person feels swelling in the knee, he should try home remedies. For this purpose, he should try raising the affected leg, massaging the leg and knee, and placing an ice pack enveloped in a cloth against the knee at least once a day for 15–20 minutes at a time. Also, he can perform exercises that improve the strength of the muscles supporting the knee. He should use a band or compression sleeve to keep consistent pressure on the joint of the knee to relieve this pain. At last, he should take anti-inflammatory medications.


If knee pain Hillsboro does not relieve due to rest or occurs with other symptoms, consult a doctor. Also, people should consult a doctor after a sudden injury, such as blunt force trauma.

In addition, it is essential to consult a doctor if there are any signs of an infection, for example, fever or pus coming from a wound.

Treatment alters according to the cause of the swelling, its severity, and the medical history. The doctor might prescribe oral pain medication when over-the-counter pain relievers are not enough. He might suggest an oral corticosteroid, such as prednisone or other steroids in the form of injection.

There are the following surgical and other procedures to get relief from swelling in the knee.

1- Joint Replacement

If weighting your knee joint is not tolerable, in this case, a patient might need knee replacement surgery.

2- Arthrocentesis

Arthrocentesis is another way of treating swelling in the knee. In this treatment, eliminating fluid from the knee can aid to reduce pressure on the joint. After aspirating joint fluid, the doctor might inject a corticosteroid into the joint to treat inflammation.

3- Arthroscopy

A lighted tube known as an arthroscope is entered through a small incision into the patient’s knee joint. Tools connected to the arthroscope can eliminate loose tissue or repair damage to the knee.

4- Physical Therapy

The doctor might also recommend physical therapy to improve the knee’s function and strength. It is also beneficial to get relief from the pain.


A swollen knee is typically the result of an injury or chronic health condition. People should adopt the following measures to save from it.

1- Choose Low-Impact Exercises

People should consider certain activities, such as water aerobics and swimming, and avoid continuous weight-bearing stress on their knee joints.

2- Strengthen the Muscles Around the Knee

People should work to strengthen the muscles around the knee because strong muscles around a joint can ease pressure on the joint.

3- Maintain a Healthy Weight

Many people face such issues due to being overweight. Hence, they should adopt a healthy lifestyle and reduce their weight.

Dr. Rao K. Ali M.D.

Dr. Rao Ali, a board-certified pain management physician, leads the clinic, which specializes in nonsurgical treatment. The physician has experience in the emergency room as well as training in pain management and rehabilitation. As a personal physician, he works with each patient to develop a treatment plan that will minimize or eliminate their pain. Providing expert diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of conditions, Pain Management In Dallas, PA provides a comprehensive range of services. These services include neck pain, back pain, hip and knee pain, fibromyalgia, neuropathy, complex regional pain syndrome, headaches, migraines, and many others.