Water on the knee
Water on the knee
Water on the knee is a general term for excess fluid accumulation in or around your knee joint. Your doctor may refer to this condition as a knee "effusion."
Water on the knee may be the result of trauma, overuse injuries, or an underlying disease or condition. To determine the cause of water on the knee, your doctor may need to obtain a sample of the fluid for testing. If the fluid contains crystals, you might have gout or pseudogout. Bacteria indicates an infection, and blood suggests traumatic injury.
Removing some of the fluid also helps reduce the pain and stiffness associated with water on the knee. Once your doctor determines the underlying cause of your water on the knee, appropriate treatment can begin.
Signs and symptoms of water on the knee typically include:
When to see a doctor
Water on the knee can be caused by many different types of problems, ranging from traumatic injuries to diseases and conditions.
Diseases and conditions
Two C-shaped pieces of cartilage known as the menisci (plural of meniscus) lie between your shinbone and your thighbone to stabilize and cushion your knee joint. Any activity that causes you to twist ...
Anterior cruciate ligament
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the key ligaments that helps stabilize your knee joint. The ACL connects your thighbone (femur) to your shinbone (tibia). A torn ACL is a common knee ...
If left untreated, water on the knee can severely limit your mobility. If the swelling is caused by an infection, it can destroy the joint.
Preparing for your appointment
While you may initially bring your symptoms to the attention of your family doctor, he or she may refer you to a doctor specializing in conditions related to arthritis (rheumatologist), in sports medicine or in orthopedic surgery.
What you can do
What to expect from your doctor
Tests and diagnosis
Joint aspiration (arthrocentesis)
Treatments and drugs
Surgical and other procedures
Lifestyle and home remedies
Taking care of yourself when you have water on the knee includes:
Water on the knee is typically the result of a chronic health condition or traumatic injury. To prevent water on the knee, work with your doctor and other members of your health care team to manage the condition or traumatic injury that causes it. Examples include:
Last Updated: 2010-03-06
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