Water on knee commonly refers to knee effusion or swelling of the knee. Knee effusion results from an excessive accumulation of water or fluid in or around the knee joint. Usually, the lining of the knee joint capsule produces a fluid, known as synovial fluid. This lubricating fluid nourishes the cartilage along with facilitating the movement of the knee joint. Fluid accumulation or water on the knee occurs, when there is an excess production of synovial fluid, due to factors like, injury or trauma and certain underlying health conditions. There can be various water on the knee symptoms and causes, which are explained below.
Water on the Knee Causes
Fluid accumulation in and around the knee joint can occur due to injury or trauma to any part of the knee. Examples include, injury to the ligaments and meniscus tear. Even broken bones and overuse injuries can cause build up of fluid on the knee, as it is body's natural reaction to surround the injured knee with fluid in order to protect it from further damage. However, water on the knee is not always associated with traumatic injury. In fact, it can be a sign of certain diseases like, arthritis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, pseudogout, infection, kneecap bursitis, cysts and tumors. Obese people, as well as those involved in sport activities are more likely to get this condition frequently.
Symptoms of Water on the Knee
One of the most common symptoms of water on the knee is swelling. The affected knee usually appears larger than the other knee. One can observe increased puffiness around the bony parts of the affected knee. Along with swelling, pain may also be present. In the case of osteoarthritis, pain usually occurs while bearing weight on the knee. Apart from these, water on the knee can affect the movement of the knee joint. As a result, the affected individuals can experience stiffness and they may fail to bend or straighten their knees completely. If the condition is caused by an injury or trauma, then one can observe bruising along with these usual fluid on the knee symptoms. Bruising can be easily noticed and it can occur on the front, side or the rear of the knee. In case of injury, bearing weight on the injured knee can be quite painful.
Diagnosis and Treatment for Water on the Knee
Diagnosis of water on the knee can involve various tests and examinations. Most often, the swollen knee is aspirated, which is called joint aspiration. In this procedure, the accumulated fluid inside the knee is withdrawn and checked for the presence of crystals, bacteria and blood. Other diagnostic tests include, X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and blood tests to look for infection, rheumatoid arthritis, gout and bleeding disorder. Treatment for water on the knee depends mainly on the factors that lead to the build up of fluid in or around the knee joint.
Usually, the water on the knee symptoms like, knee pain subsides or reduces with adequate rest, especially if the condition is caused by a traumatic injury. You can also find considerable relief by keeping the knee at an elevated position, and applying ice pack on it. Ideally, ice pack can be applied on the affected knee continuously, for about 15 minutes several times a day. Even after using ice pack, if the pain and inflammation do not resolve, then talk to your physician regarding the use of pain medications and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID). NSAID along with corticosteroid injections and colchicine may be required, if water on the knee is caused by gout or pseudogout. A large build up of fluid and severe inflammation on the other hand, can necessitate aspiration of the joint, followed by the administration of corticosteroid injections.
Arthroscopic knee surgery is another treatment option, which the physicians may suggest occasionally, in order to relieve the water on the knee symptoms. But, if all these treatment options fail to reduce the knee swelling symptoms, then knee replacement can be suggested by the physicians. Knee replacement is usually recommended for water on the knee treatment, when the pain is intolerable and standing or bearing weight on the affected knee becomes impossible. To sum up, there are a number of treatment options for water on the knee, depending on the underlying causes and the associated symptoms. For proper diagnosis and prompt treatment, it is better to talk to a physician on observing any of the symptoms of water on the knee. Be sure to follow your physician's suggestions regarding the use of various medications.