Knee effusion

Knee effusion: Description, Causes and Risk Factors:A small amount of fluid exists in normal joints. Knee effusion is a condition in which excess fluid accumulates around your knee joint as a result of overusing your knee, injuring your knee or having an underlying disease.Causes and Risk Factors:Knee effusionThe causes of knee effusion include arthritis, injury to the ligaments of the knee or an accident after which the body's natural reaction is to surround the knee with a protective fluid.
  • Having osteoarthritis or engaging in high-risk sports that involve rapid cut-and-run movements of the knee, football or tennis for example, means an individual is more likely to develop knee effusion.
  • In overweight or obese individuals the body places more weight on the knee joint. This causes more wear in the joint. Over time, the body will produce excess joint fluid.
A knee effusion can happen to anyone, but certain groups are more prone to the injury than others. Sports like baseball and basketball, where quick changes in direction are involved, can contribute to a knee injury and result in knee effusion. While people of any age can get a knee effusion, it is more common in those over 55 years old.Symptoms:The excess fluid accumulation can give rise to symptoms such as swelling, puffiness of the affected area, feeling of the knee joint getting stiff, and mild-to-moderate-to-unbearable pain.Diagnosis:A complete history, a thorough physical examination and judicious laboratory and radiologic testing can simplify evaluation of knee effusion.Tests indicated:X-ray: An X-ray is useful to verify that there is no break or dislocation when there is a history of trauma and may show signs of osteoarthritis.
  • MRI: An MRI detects abnormalities of the bone or knee joint, such as a tear in the ligaments, tendons or cartilage.
  • Arthrocentesis. The knee is prepared in sterile fashion and anesthetized with local anesthetic to facilitate the use of a large-bore needle. The choice of the site of aspiration is a matter of operator preference. Accepted locations include the level of the joint line, 1 cm medial or lateral to the patellar tendon, with the patient seated. Alternatively, a location 2 cm medial or lateral to the anterior-superior patella can be used, with the patient supine. An 18-gauge needle is needed for aspiration of the viscous or bloody fluid.The fluid obtained from arthrocentesis should be sent for analysis.
Treatment:Although knee effusion is a painful condition that can dramatically impair your ability to utilize your knee and leg effectively, there are many medical treatments available to help diminish the symptoms and accelerate the recovery process. When selecting among the treatments for fluid in the knees, you should choose a treatment that is most appropriate for your body and for your condition.Treatment Options:Rest: You can provide treatment for your knee effusion by resting and immobilizing the affected knee and leg. Resting and immobilizing your knee alleviates the pain, reduces the swelling and quickens the healing process. You should avoid walking on the affected leg, refrain from placing weight on your knee, and sit or lie down on a consistent basis. Additionally, while you are sitting or lying down, you should elevate your leg so your knee is above your heart.
  • Ice: Applying ice or a frozen package of peas on your knee can help you overcome the symptoms of knee effusion. The cold temperature helps minimize the swelling and relieves the pain that often accompanies the condition. You should place the bag of ice over the injured or swollen area of your knee for 20-minute periods, and repeat the icing sessions frequently throughout each day.
  • Medications: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that can help treat the symptoms of knee effusion include Advil, Tylenol, ibuprofen, Aleve, or aspirin. Your doctor can also prescribe you more powerful medications, depending on the severity of your condition. Additionally, your doctor can provide corticosteroid injections directly onto the affected area.
  • Surgery: If you are suffering from severe knee effusion with extreme symptoms or if your injury keeps recurring, you can have a doctor perform surgery to provide treatment for your knee. Several different types of surgical procedures help reduce or eliminate the symptoms of knee effusion, and your doctor can determine which procedure is most effective for your condition. Possible surgical procedures to treat knee effusion include arthroscopy, joint aspiration and knee replacement surgeries.
NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.

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