In a clinical setting, when we talk about knee effusion, we are referring to a particular condition, unfortunately very common, in which there is an accumulation of fluids right in the joint and can cause very intense pain to those who suffer from it.
But what are the main causes of knee effusion
What are the most common symptoms
What to do in these cases
There are risks associated with knee effusion or not
Today we are going to answer all your questions on this topic together.

What is knee effusion
As we have already mentioned in the short introduction of our article, when we talk about knee effusion we are referring to a particular pathological condition in which an accumulation of fluid occurs in the knee.
In principle, this liquid is a sign of the fact that the joint has been subjected to a certain stress, for example trauma and other factors which we will discuss more later.
In practice it is a real reaction of the knee, inside which the liquid is poured which makes it more swollen and painful and can lead to serious consequences.
Due to the complications that can occur, knee effusion should not be underestimated at alland it requires a very specific diagnostic and therapeutic path that can vary depending on the case.
The liquid that accumulates, among other things, can also be serous or even contain traces of blood. In these cases we speak of hydrarct and hemarthrosis respectively . Let’s see specifically what it is.

What are the most common causes of knee effusion
So, when knee effusion occurs, the factors that triggered this situation are mainly traumatic in nature. In reality there are several causes that may be at the base of this disorder and, among the most frequent, we also mention some pathological conditions.
Diseases that can cause knee effusion can be limited but can also affect the entire body. Regarding the first, that is the circumscribed pathological conditions , we recall the following:

  • The presence of a Baker’s cyst or any other type of knee cyst;
  • A knee bursitis
  • The presence of some tumors, such as synovioma;
  • An infectious state that has affected the knee.

As for the second category, namely that of pathologies that affect the body as a whole, we recall the following:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis;
  • Gout and pseudogout;
  • Tuberculosis;
  • Hemophilia and other diseases that affect blood clotting;
  • Syphilis;
  • osteoarthritis.

Among the traumas to which knee effusion is most frequently associated we remember all those conditions in which real damage has occurred to the main structures of the joint, for example:

  • The rupture of the meniscus;
  • Any minor trauma but repeated over time;
  • The strain of a ligament or the rupture of the same;
  • An inflamed tendon or its overload;
  • The rupture of the patella.

Finally, risk factors can take over that affect the appearance of the knee effusion . Among these we remember above all those mentioned below:

  • The fact of practicing sports, especially those in which the joints and, specifically, the knee, are continuously stressed and those in which contact trauma can occur;
  • Age, for example, subjects over the age of 55 are more exposed to this risk due to the likelihood of suffering from pathologies such as arthritis;
  • Body weight affects the possibility of a knee effusion. Chance that increases in case you are overweight;
  • The fact of following anticoagulant therapies would increase the risk of haemarthrosis, that is, the spillage of fluid containing traces of blood.

What are the symptoms of knee effusion
As with most pathological conditions, even in the case of knee effusion we can refer to very specific symptoms to understand what is happening.
Generally, the symptom picture of knee effusion has the following characteristics:

  • A very intense pain that at times can also involve a certain difficulty in walking and standing;
  • Joint stiffness;
  • Swelling of the joint which may be more or less evident.

These symptoms should not be underestimated, especially due to the fact that, with the knee effusion , we can face complications that can be serious.
In fact, if the effusion is caused, for example, by a pathological condition such as those mentioned above, the mobility of the joint can also be strongly compromised.

What should be done in these cases
Based on what we have said so far, it is therefore understandable that, in the event that we realize that we have a knee problem of this type, it would be advisable to contact your family doctor or, even better , a good orthopedist.
In order to arrive at a definitive diagnosis, the doctor will carry out an accurate analysis of the situation, first of all to understand what is the cause of your knee effusion and, secondly, to identify the best treatment, suitable for your situation.
Among the tests you will be subjected to to understand what is happening to your body, we find the following:

  • An examination of your medical history or, more simply, your health condition;
  • The physical examination in which the doctor will analyze the symptoms and their intensity;
  • Functional imaging tests, to see if there are fractures or other problems affecting the tendons, cartilage, and ligaments, such as MRI, ultrasound or X-rays
  • The aspiration of the liquid to be able to subsequently analyze it in the laboratory (better known as arthrocentesis for diagnostic purposes). This test is used to evaluate the presence of certain substances in the liquid, for example blood;
  • Blood tests to understand if an inflammatory state, an infectious state or the presence of other diseases, such as gout, is in progress.

Finally, in some cases, the doctor may find it necessary to undergo a minimally invasive surgery, known as diagnostic arthroscopy. This operation is particularly useful for directly assessing the state of the joint with specific instruments.

What are the treatments foreseen for the treatment of knee effusion
Only after identifying the cause of the problem, the doctor will be able to prescribe the most suitable therapeutic treatment for your condition. Typically, these treatments include:

  • A drug treatment, which serves both for the treatment of symptoms, for example in the case of painkillers, and to solve the problem gradually, for example in the case of antibiotics or corticosteroids;
  • A surgery in which a knee replacement is inserted. This treatment is used only in the most extreme cases and when other therapies have proved useless;
  • Arthroscopy, in addition to being a good diagnostic method, is also widely used to solve the problem of knee effusion, for example in the case in which this problem was caused by a rather severe rheumatoid arthritis;
  • Arthrocentesis, like the previous one, is not only used for diagnostic purposes, but also as a therapeutic treatment to eliminate the fluid that has accumulated in the knee.

In the case of arthroscopy and arthrocentesis, it will then be the doctor’s task to prescribe the necessary drugs to completely solve the problem. In any case, remember to follow in detail all the instructions that your doctor will give you.

There are natural remedies in case of knee effusion
In less serious cases, you can also resort to simple natural remedies to solve the knee effusion situation , obviously always under the advice of your doctor.
Among the most effective natural remedies we remember those mentioned below:

  • Compresses with aloe vera and avocado seeds would be useful to reduce the inflammatory state of the knee;
  • The herbal tea based on ginger and turmeric has excellent diuretic properties, but also anti-inflammatory;
  • Ice, always the first choice for these problems, helps reduce swelling and pain in the knee;
  • Sage-based compresses are soothing for knee pain.

Last but not least, particular attention must also be paid to rest, which is essential to allow the knee to return to a normal state.

How we can prevent knee effusion
However, as is often the case in the medical field, the best thing to do would be to directly prevent a knee effusion problem from occurring.
To prevent fluid build-up in the joint, take a look at the following points:

  • If you have suffered knee trauma in the past, remember to wear the braces and protections that your doctor has advised you, especially when exercising;
  • Keep your body weight in the norm, therefore, follow a healthy and balanced diet and practice the right physical activity;
  • Always follow the instructions given by your doctor, especially if you are over 55 years of age;
  • If you are an athlete, strengthen your thigh muscles to prevent your knees from experiencing other problems.

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