Taking Care of Your Knee

What to do if it swells

Many athletes experience knee swelling at some point, and it’s not always clear why it happens. The causes of this condition, also known as effusion, or water on the knee can vary. Some of the possible reasons for a swollen knee include:

  • Injury to the bones, ligaments, tendons, or other tissues
  • Osteoarthritis that causes degeneration of cartilage in the knee
  • Bursitis in the knee joint, often caused by overuse

Regardless of the cause, swelling of any type can be uncomfortable, especially if it limits range of motion in the joint. As an athlete or someone who wants to remain active, you want to reduce knee swelling as quickly as possible. Here are some tips to address a swollen knee and help you get back on your feet.

1. Exercises to Reduce Knee Swelling

The best exercises for a swollen knee will depend on the cause of the swelling, so if you’re not sure, contact your doctor for recommendations. In general, knee exercises should focus on improving the function of the joint without contributing to additional swelling. Some such exercises may include:

  • Low-impact cardio like swimming or cycling
  • Resistance exercises in a pool and chair exercises with little or no weight
  • Hamstring, calf, and quadricep stretches to improve range of motion

If you experience pain during any of these exercises, consult a doctor or physical therapist to get a proper diagnosis and recommendations for the appropriate exercises for your condition.

2. What to Avoid with a Swollen Knee

Any time you experience swelling, there are certain activities you should try to avoid so you don’t worsen the injury. Don’t use heat, it may feel therapeutic but it does tend to increase the swelling as it improves to circulation of blood. Avoid high impact activities, this should go without saying as it can create more problems when you “play through the injury”. Avoid overuse, do as your mother would say and get some rest. Elevate the leg and relax for a while. 

3. Recovery Time from a Swollen Knee

The recovery time for a swollen knee depends on the type and severity of the injury. For minor inflammation, the swelling could go down in a matter of a day or two. However, if there’s a larger issue, like a tear in the muscle or joint sprain, the recovery time could take as long as a few months. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce the swelling more quickly, such as resting, elevating your leg, and using compression therapy.

Are you looking to get some relief from knee pain? If you are in the Mississauga area or Peel region, feel free to contact us here at Core Optimum Health and we can help take the pain away. 

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