Water on the Knee is also known as Knee Effusion, which means there is fluid accumulation around the knee joint.1
How Do We Define Water On The Knee Or Knee Effusion?
Water on the Knee or Knee Effusion is a medical condition in which there is build up of excessive fluid in and around the knee joint. This condition may be caused as a result of a trauma to the knee, some other underlying medical condition, or overuse type injuries. An exact cause is usually determined by taking a sample of the fluid which is aspirated from the knee and checking them for infections or injury. Aspiration of the fluid brings relief from pain and stiffness in the knee. Once a cause has been determined for the fluid buildup appropriate treatment strategies are formulated.
Causes Of Water On The Knee Or Knee Effusion
The Major Causes For Water On The Knee Or Knee Effusion Are:
Injuries: Any type of damage to the knee can cause fluid buildup. Some of the examples of injuries which can cause fluid buildup are:
- Fracture 1
- Meniscus tears
- Ligament tears
- Overuse injury
- Underlying medical conditions
Some Medical Conditions Which Can Cause Water On The Knee Or Knee Effusion Are:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Gout 2
- Cyst formation
- Bleeding disorders
Risk Factors For Water On The Knee Or Knee Effusion
Some Of The Risk Factors For Water On The Knee Or Knee Effusion Are:
- Age: Fluid buildup tends to be frequent in people older than age 50
- Sportsmen: Individuals participating is sporting activities like baseball or football which requires frequent change of directions and movement of the knee tend to be more prone to Water on the Knee or Knee Effusion.
- Obesity: Being overweight is also a risk factor for development of Water on the Knee or Knee Effusion.3
Symptoms Of Water On The Knee Or Knee Effusion
- Swelling around the knee joint
- Stiffness of the knee joint
- Severe pain in and around the knee joint
- Difficulty walking
- Difficulty straightening the knee
- Painful weight bearing
Diagnosis of Water On The Knee Or Knee Effusion
To diagnose Water on the Knee or Knee Effusion, the treating physician will order the following tests:
- Radiographic Studies: These studies will give the physician a view of the inside of the knee which will help in determining whether there is fluid buildup in the knee and the cause of the fluid buildup.
- X-ray: This helps to rule out fractures or dislocations of the knee joint and to look for presence of arthritis
- Ultrasound: This can be done to look for arthritis or other ligament abnormalities
- MRI: In case if the above studies are inconclusive and do not confirm a diagnosis then an MRI will be conducted to look at the interior of the knee and look for a cause of fluid buildup.
Apart From Radiographic Studies, Blood Tests Will Be Done To Look For The Following:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Lyme disease
- Bleeding disorders
Treatment For Water On The Knee Or Knee Effusion
The treatment for Water on the Knee or Knee Effusion is two fold and is done by either using medications or a surgical procedure.
Medications: Some of the medications used for treatment of Water on the Knee or Knee Effusion are:
- Pain Medications: Pain medications like ibuprofen etc. can be used for control of pain and inflammation.
- Antibiotics: In case an infection is the cause of the fluid buildup then the physician will prescribes appropriate antibiotics to treat the infection.
- Corticosteroids: Medications like prednisone can be used short term for pain relief.
Surgical Procedures: Some of the surgical procedures used for treatment of Water on the Knee or Knee Effusion are:
- Arthrocentesis: In this procedure, the fluid present in the knee is removed and the pressure in the knee is relieved. After removal of the fluid, the physician may give a shot of steroid to calm the inflammation down.
- Arthroscopy: This procedure is done by making a small incision and inserts an arthroscope which has a minature camera to look at the internal structures of the knee and repairing the damaged structures
- Joint Replacement: This procedure is done if the knee joint gets damaged beyond repair and weightbearing becomes extremely painful and intolerable.
Home Remedies For Water On The Knee Or Knee Effusion
In case of Water on the Knee or Knee Effusion the following steps are helpful for symptom relief:
- Rest: Take plenty of rest and avoid weightbearing activities until the swelling comes down.
- Ice and Elevation: Cold therapy is used for control of pain and inflammation. This can be done by applying ice to the affected area for 15-20 minutes at least three times a day. One needs to also raise the knee about the level of the heart which can be done using pillows.
- Pain Medication: Using pain medications like ibuprofen etc. can help with the pain and inflammation.
Prevention of Water On The Knee Or Knee Effusion
Water on the Knee or Knee Effusion as stated is usually caused as a result of an injury or an underlying medical condition. Some steps to prevent Water on the Knee or Knee Effusion are:
- Regular followups with the treating physician in cases of a chronic joint abnormality like osteoarthritis or gout.
- Follow the physician’s advice diligently by taking the medications as prescribed and following through with the advice of the physical therapist.
- Regular exercises to strengthen the muscles of the knee and thighs so that they are able to support the knee better
- In case of being overweight, a regular weight loss program is beneficial. Consultation with the treating physician is imperative so that a detailed plan may be formulated for weight loss.