Knees Swelling: Causes, Symptoms & Home Remedy

Significance of Knees

Knees are the children of a lesser God as far as the human body is concerned, they are taken for granted and they do accept their lowly position. They are one of the hardest working joints in the body. However, beyond a point, they do complain in the form of swelling. The primary cause of swelling in the knee is damage to the part of the knees.

knee pain

It could be because of overuse, injury (primarily in the case of athletes) or underlying disease (vagaries of age).The swelling is the proof of fluid collecting in and around the joints of the knees. It is also typically a sign that the part needs immediate rest.

Knee Effusion

It is also called knee effusion. The first thing you need to do is to judge the severity of the injury. In case the pain is moderate home remedies are advised. But if the pain is searing in nature or swelling and associated pain have increased despite the application of the remedies then immediate professional advice is warranted.

Home Remedy to relax Knees

Keep in Rest

Give the injured part rest. If you exercise avoid exercises that put pressure on the joints. If possible forego aim for a couple of days. Also, avoid outdoors and other weight-bearing activities, take it easy.

Apply Ice

Apply ice for 15 to 20 minutes every two to four hours for the first 2-3 days. Ice will decrease the flow of blood to the affected area to reduce the swelling.  It will also help control pain in the joints.

Compress with a bandage

Wrap an elastic bandage or sleeve around the knee. It would reduce swelling. Don’t tie it too hard. It will induce swelling in the lower half of the body.

Elevate your knee

Put the leg up on a pillow or on an elevated stool. Let it rest there as you apply ice. The idea is to reduce blood flow and hence swelling. The legs should be kept at a height above the heart level.

This completes our process of RICE, the effective steps needed to be taken to rest the injured knee.

Take anti-inflammatory medication

To reduce pain and swelling you can buy OTC medication like Acetaminophen (Paracetamol) and NSAID’s.  They are fairly effective in reducing inflammation in the body.

Give heat therapy

After three days of ice treatment, switch gears to heat treatment.  Use a heating pad to the affected joint for 10 minutes 3-4 times a day. The Heat will help improve the flow of blood and improves circulation. It would also relax the muscles. It will relax the muscles. You can also try having a warm bath a couple of times a day.

Massage the knee

In Ayurveda massage is considered the best way to heal the joints. You can use warm oil (castor, coconut, and mustard oil, olive oil) to massage the joint. 

Massage gently, in a rotary motion. Make sure the oil is hot; it should be slightly uncomfortable but not too hot. You should be able to dip your fingers in the oil and keep them there.

Do knee exercises

When the injury has healed a bit start exercising your knee. Swimming is the most recommended one as it gives you the full work out without putting too much pressure on your knee. Exercise also strengthens the neighboring muscle that supports the knee.

Prevention of Knee Swelling

Keep the knee strong by regularly indulging in flexibility training, weight training and low impact exercises such as aerobics and swimming.

A healthy weight is de-rigor for healthy knees.  An additional pound of weight puts 4 pounds of weight on the knees.

If you are overweight by 25 pounds you are putting an additional pressure of 100 pounds on the knees. This additional weight increases the wear and tear on the knees.

Diseases and Injuries that cause the swelling

If your discomfort and pain have not reduced after three days despite the application of RICE then there is a more serious underlying cause. These could be a set of diseases or injuries in and around the knee area.

Diseases that cause swelling

The number one cause is Rheumatoid Arthritis:

  1. The other diseases are Osteoarthritis
  2. Gout or Pseudogout
  3. Tumors
  4. Bursitis and cysts

The set of major injuries are

  1. Torn ACL
  2. Torn Meniscus
  3. Broken bones

When to contact a Doctor

 The time to get in touch with your Doctor is’

  1. In case you have severe swelling and pain, which does not  subside after the application of RICE
  2. You are running a temperature of 100.4 F or more
  3. The knee has turned red and feels warm to touch.
  4. Knee cannot bear weight and feels like it will give in
  5. You have a sharp pain when you rise from a squat position


Injuring your knee is fairly common among athletes and people who lead active lives. Normally it is not serious, as the knee is one of the sturdiest organs of the body. With proper rest and cold and hot treatment, minor injuries are well treated.

At times the severity of the injury or disease might even test the sturdiest of knees. In that case, immediate medical treatment is required.

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