Osteoarthritis Knee Swelling

physical therapist works on mans knee

Osteoarthritis (OA), a common form of arthritis, is a brutal, debilitating disease that affects millions of people around the globe. One of the most challenging symptoms that individuals with OA often experience is knee swelling.

In this article, we will explore how osteoarthritis leads to knee swelling, its causes, who is affected by this condition, how it is diagnosed, and non-surgical treatment options available to relieve knee swelling.

How Does Osteoarthritis Make My Knees Swell?

Knee swelling, medically known as effusion, occurs when excess fluid accumulates in the knee joint. In individuals with osteoarthritis, this swelling is often due to inflammation caused by the breakdown of cartilage in the knee.

The knee joint consists of bones, ligaments, tendons, and cartilage that work together to provide stability and flexibility. Each of those things acts as a pillar that helps stabilize your knee and your body. However, with osteoarthritis, the cartilage that cushions the bones wears down over time. As a result, the bones rub against each other, leading to irritation and inflammation. The body responds by producing extra fluid, causing the knee to swell.

When the knee swells, it may feel warm, tender, and stiff. This can significantly impact a person’s mobility and quality of life. The last thing you want in your golden years is to lose your mobility and freedom to perform seamless daily activities without pain.

The inflammatory process in osteoarthritis can trigger the release of enzymes that further break down the remaining cartilage, perpetuating the cycle of swelling and pain. The swelling itself can also lead to increased pressure within the joint, contributing to discomfort and limited range of motion.

It’s important for individuals with osteoarthritis to manage knee swelling effectively to prevent further damage. This may involve lifestyle modifications, such as weight management, low-impact exercises, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy to reduce inflammation and improve joint function.

What Causes Osteoarthritis In Your Knee?

Several factors contribute to the development of osteoarthritis in the knee.

Causes include the following:

  • Age: As we age, the wear and tear on our joints increase, making us more susceptible to osteoarthritis.
  • Obesity: Excess weight puts additional stress on the knee joints, accelerating cartilage breakdown.
  • Joint injuries: Previous knee injuries, such as ligament tears or fractures, can increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis.
  • Genetics: Certain genes can predispose individuals to osteoarthritis.

Understanding these risk factors can help individuals take appropriate steps to prevent or manage osteoarthritis in their knees.

It’s important to note that osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that primarily affects the cartilage in your knee joint. Cartilage is the tough, slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones where they form a joint, allowing them to glide smoothly over each other. When this cartilage breaks down and wears away, the bones rub against each other, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness.

Who is Affected by Osteoarthritis of the Knee?

Osteoarthritis of the knee can affect people of all ages, but it is more commonly observed in individuals above the age of 40. Age-related degeneration and increased wear and tear on the knee joints make older adults more prone to developing osteoarthritis.

Don’t be fooled, though; young people can develop osteoarthritis too, especially those with a history of joint injuries or genetic predisposition. and can also experience knee swelling and osteoarthritis symptoms.

Regardless of age, early intervention and appropriate management can significantly improve the quality of life for those affected by this condition.

Studies have shown that women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis of the knee compared to men. This gender difference is believed to be influenced by hormonal factors, anatomical variations, and differences in physical activity levels between men and women.

In addition to age and gender, obesity is a significant risk factor for the development and progression of osteoarthritis of the knee. Excess body weight increases pressure on the knee joints, leading to accelerated wear and tear, cartilage damage, and inflammation.

People who engage in high-impact sports or occupations that involve repetitive stress on the knees, such as construction workers or athletes, are also at a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis in the knee joints.

How is Osteoarthritis of the Knee Diagnosed?

If you are experiencing knee swelling and suspect osteoarthritis, please seek medical attention for an accurate diagnosis. A healthcare professional, such as a rheumatologist or orthopedic specialist, will assess your symptoms and perform the following:

  1. Medical history review: The doctor will ask about your symptoms, any previous injuries, family history, and lifestyle factors.
  2. Physical examination: The knee will be examined for signs of inflammation, tenderness, and swelling. The range of motion and stability of the joint will also be assessed.
  3. Imaging tests: X-rays and MRI scans may be ordered to assess the extent of cartilage damage and determine the stage of osteoarthritis.

An accurate diagnosis is crucial in developing an effective treatment plan tailored to your specific condition.

How to Treat Osteoarthritis Knee Swelling

You’re in luck! Because there are several non-surgical treatment options available to help relieve knee swelling caused by osteoarthritis. These include:

  • Weight management: Maintaining a healthy weight reduces the stress on the knee joints, slowing down the progression of osteoarthritis.
  • Physical therapy: A physical therapist can develop an exercise program to strengthen the muscles around the knee, improve flexibility, and reduce pain.
  • Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), may help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Assistive devices: Using a cane, knee brace, or other supportive devices can reduce pressure on the affected knee and provide stability.
  • Injections: Corticosteroid or hyaluronic acid injections directly into the knee joint can provide temporary relief from pain and swelling.

Let’s sum it all up
Osteoarthritis knee swelling can be painful and affect your mobility. Understanding the causes, risk factors, diagnosis process, and available treatment options is crucial in managing knee swelling and improving overall joint health. With early intervention and a comprehensive non-surgical approach, individuals can find relief, enhance their mobility, and enjoy a better quality of life despite osteoarthritis.

If you’re struggling with the discomfort of osteoarthritis knee swelling and seeking a non-surgical solution to enhance your mobility and reduce pain, the Arthritis Knee Pain Center may offer the relief you’ve been searching for.

We’ve treated more than 50,000+ patients at AKPC. Our advanced knee pain relief modality utilizes FDA-approved viscosupplementation gel injections, guided by digital imaging, to help increase mobility, reduce pain, delay surgery, and decrease the need for pain medications.

Take the first step towards managing your knee pain and improving your quality of life by scheduling your no-charge screening today at Arthritis Knee Pain Centers. Don’t let knee swelling control your life—discover how our treatments can help you get back to the activities you love.