Once damage to the structures of the knee occurs, it can lead to swelling and inflammation which is also known as fluid on the knee. It is important to note that the knee swelling can occur abruptly after a traumatic injury was sustained or can be a long-term problem for individuals who have arthritis or gout. Mild to moderate cases of knee swelling typically responds well to the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, elevation). In case the affected knee becomes red in color and warm, feels numb, could not bear weight or misshapen, the individual must seek emergency care as soon as possible.
Measures to minimize knee swelling
- The individual must rest the affected leg. If the knee was injured while the individual was exercising, he/she must stop the activity right away. In case the swelling is a long-term problem, he/she must avoid overusing the affected knee as much as possible.
- You have to apply an ice pack or frozen vegetables on the affected knee for 20 minutes every hour in order to minimize the pain, swelling and inflammation. Just remember not to apply the ice pack directly on the skin. Make sure that it is wrapped in a clean towel or cloth before placed on the skin. By enrolling in a first aid course, you will learn how to properly use ice on injuries.
- The affected knee must be wrapped using an elastic bandage to prevent further swelling and to help stabilize the joint. Make sure that the bandage is comfortable but not too tight. If the individual feels tingling or numbness in the toes, it indicates that the bandage is too tight. You have to remove it and wrap again.
- The affected leg must be elevated on pillows or cushions when the individual is lying down or sitting. Take note that elevation will help drain the fluids away from the knee instead of accumulating there.
- Provide over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as naproxen, aspirin or ibuprofen to help minimize the knee swelling, pain and inflammation. Individuals who have arthritis of the knee will greatly benefit from chondroitin and glucosamine.
Important considerations to bear in mind
It is vital to consult a doctor if the knee swelling and pain continues to persist after a day or two. When it comes to medications, the individual must strictly follow the recommended dosage and instructions given by the doctor.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can cause detrimental side effects if used on a long-term basis. It is important to read the dosing instructions and stop the intake of these medications once the allowed time is reached. NSAIDs must not be taken more than the recommended dosage.
Individual who have arthritis, gout and other conditions that can lead to lasting knee symptoms must find a way to lose weight if needed. Additionally, he/she must learn exercises that help improve the knee function and choose low-impact exercises.