When there is excess of fluid collection in knee joint, the term used to describe the condition is ‘knee joint effusion’. Many call it as water on knee. Usually, knee joint effusion is a complication of some other underlying condition of the knee.
When knee joint effusion is large, it leads to swelling in and around the knee joint. The effusion typically is that of synovial fluid. The fluid accumulates due to the inflammation of synovial membrane of the knee joint.
However the effusion can be septic in nature caused due to bacterial infection or due to a hematoma.Swelling, stiffness and pain are the three most common symptoms of knee joint effusion.
Causes Of Effusion Of Knee Joint
Knee joint effusion can be due to many causes, following are few of them:
- Trauma: direct trauma to the knee joint can give rise to knee joint effusion.
- The injury can be due to fracture of bone in the knee joint or due to tear in the ligaments and meniscus.
- Overuse or continuous stress to the knee joint can also lead to knee joint effusion.
- Osteoarthritis: knee effusion is common in this condition. As a person grows older, the cartilages of the knee joint are gradually destroyed giving rise to effusion. Pain and stiffness are other symptoms of osteoarthritis of knee joint.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: it is an autoimmune disease where the synovial tissue gets inflamed giving rise to effusion and swelling of the knee joint. Pain, redness, stiffness and swelling are symptoms of this disease.
- Acute bacterial infection: staphylococcus infection.
- Tubercular effusion: the cause is tuberculosis of the knee joint.
- Baker’s cyst.
- Bleeding disorders.
Treatment For Knee Joint Effusion
- When the effusion is not large, and the reason is trauma or a minor injury, it can be primarily treated with Rest, Ice fomentation, Compression bandage and Leg elevation. All of them are very effective in curtailing knee effusion.
- When the underlying cause is osteoarthritis, your physician may suggest aspiration of fluid. It will allow free movement and decrease stiffness. Besides the pain will also reduce.
- In case of rheumatoid arthritis, the patient may need anti rheumatic treatment such as non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAID).
- If the effusion is due to bacterial cause, besides aspiration the physician will prescribe antibiotics to treat infection.
- Physiotherapy exercises are also effective in reducing effusion and stiffness of knee joint.
- Surgery may be needed in patients having disabling symptoms not responding to conservative treatment.
- Reduce your weight if you are obese as your knees will be strained more as they are weight bearing joint. Avoid eating or cut down your sugar intake, restrict alcohol and red meat. Avoid eating white flour, oily, fried and junk food.