Knee Pain and Inflammation

There are quite a lot of reasons why people experiences knee pain and inflammation. Other than old age and common bone problems, it could also be because of a recent knee joint injury. Swelling in the knee can be acute or chronic.

Common Causes of Knee Pain or Knee Inflammation

Many of us refer to a swollen knee as having ‘water on the knee’. Medically speaking this is actually true. One of the major causes of a swollen knee is the accumulation of fluid within the knee joint of its surrounding tissue. Anatomically, our knees are enclosed with a sort of a capsule. This capsule normally has a small amount of lubricating fluid inside it, enabling us to maintain and perform the joint’s normal range of motion. Certain complications or bone diseases, however, result in the accumulation of fluid in this area – more than the amount that is normally allowed. Because of this, our knees become swollen and different signs and symptoms occur.

Below are some of the most common causes for swollen or inflamed knee joints:

  • Arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Chronic Infection
  • Baker’s Cyst (common on the back of the knee)
  • Bursitis (Specifically Prepatellar Bursitis)
  • Gout and Pseudogout
  • Acute Knee Injury
  • Blood in the Knee
  • Knee Effusion
  • Chondromalacia

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Knee Pain and Knee Inflammation?

When your knees are swollen, you can expect a couple of signs and symptoms for an impending problem on the knee.


The location of your knee pain is an important determinant of your diagnosis. Pain in front of the knee (or more commonly called “knee cap” pain) can be caused by knee effusion. If the pain is in the medial side of the knee, your doctor may diagnose your with medial meniscus tears, arthritis or MCL injuries. Pain in the lateral side usually means LCL injuries or IT band tendonitis. Baker’s Cyst is very common for pain felt at the back of the knees.

Problems with Mobility and Stability

With a swollen knee, patients commonly report inability to walk or stand properly. This could be a very distressing problem especially for obese or overweight clients.

Swelling and Slight Redness

Your knee may appear a little bit swollen and larger than the unaffected knee. In addition, there may be tenderness and slight redness as well.

Popping and Clicking

Some patients suffering from knee diseases may hear a popping or clicking sound whenever they attempt to move or flex their knees. This can be very disturbing especially when a patient walks.

Locking of the Knee

In some cases, patients may find it hard to bend or straighten the affected knee. This could be because of the pain felt upon doing so or because the physical condition of the knee doesn’t allow such movements.

Treatment for Swollen Knee

Anti-Inflammatory and Analgesics

Your doctor would most likely recommend and prescribe medications to relieve the pain and inflammation of your knee. The dosages of these drugs may depend upon your diagnosis or whatever comes out of your laboratory tests and physical assessments. The most commonly prescribed drugs are NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) because they work to decrease inflammation and relieve pain at the same time.

Avoid Bearing Weight on the Knee

If you can help it, you may want to avoid putting too much weight on the affected knee. This is highly advisable especially if the knees are still very swollen.

Stretching and Toning Exercises

Stretching and Toning exercises always help recover the normal strength of your knee. Arthritis patients are always advised to stretch and tone everyday as inactivity usually causes their bones to remain dormant.

Lose Weight

As mentioned above, placing too much weight on your knee can be dangerous as it will worsen your condition – this, of course, includes your body weight. Your weight adds extra pressure on your knee joints, aggravating the disease condition.

Cold Compress

Cold packs can temporarily alleviate pain so apply them. One important thing to remember is not to apply it more than 30 minutes at a time as it will lead to more complications. You can apply the cold packs every 2-4 hrs.


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