Knee inflammation – also commonly known as knee swelling, water/fluid on the knee, and knee effusion – is the body’s natural response to a problem within the knee. Whether caused by overuse, damage, or an underlying condition, knee inflammation is a clear sign that something isn’t right in the knee area.
Luckily the majority of knee problems that cause inflammation are minor and can be resolved at home within a few days, providing you take all the right steps to support and strengthen your knee while it recovers. The following tips will help you to reduce and treat inflammation of the knee when it occurs, while also promoting general joint health.
Hot And Cold Treatments
The application of hot and cold treatments is one of the most natural solutions for joint pain and inflammation available. However, it can be confusing to know whether to apply heat or coolness to an inflamed area.
As a general rule, cold treatment is best for the first three days following a new knee trauma or injury. Wrap an ice pack or anything soft from your freezer, such as frozen vegetables, in a towel then apply it directly to your injured knee. When applied for up to 20 minutes at a time, four times a day, cold treatment can drastically reduce inflammation in the knee.
If the inflammation persists for more than three days, try switching to heat treatment. Use a warm towel, hot pack, or take a warm bath up to four times a day. However, if you notice the inflammation getting worse, change back to cold treatment.
Massage is an excellent way of assisting fluid to drain from the knee joint, thereby reducing inflammation in the area. While there are plenty of professionals who can offer massage services, self-massage for knee pain is simple to learn and can be done for free in the privacy of your own home. You may like to use an oil or lubricant to assist you and to protect your skin.
Rest – But Not Too Much
Following a knee injury, it can be tempting to avoid walking or using your knee under the false assumption that your knee needs to rest to heal. While some rest can be beneficial in speeding up the healing process, too much inactivity will quickly weaken your muscles, ultimately prolonging the healing process. Rather than focusing on resting your knee, concentrate on choosing the right exercises to support your knee’s recovery.
Choose The Right Exercise
While it’s important to continue exercising while dealing with knee inflammation, it’s even more important to choose the right type of exercise that will aid recovery without further exacerbating the problem. High-impact exercises that involve jumping and running can jar your knees and cause further injury, while exercises that involve deep lunges and squats should also be avoided following a knee injury. Some of the best low impact exercises when you’re injured include swimming, walking, some elliptical and cycling exercise machines, modified versions of yoga, and tai chi.
Choose Footwear Carefully
When dealing with knee inflammation, your choice of footwear is essential to your speedy recovery. The best person to advise you on the right type of footwear to help support and strengthen your knees will be a podiatrist. Depending on your specific problem, your podiatrist may recommend orthotic insoles to properly support your feet and ankles, or may make recommendations as to the right type of footwear for you to use – both for everyday wear and for exercise – to speed up your recovery and to promote general joint health.
Guard Against Falls
When dealing with knee inflammation, it is vitally important to take all possible steps to reduce the chance of falling and further injuring your knee. The installation of handles and handrails in troublesome areas like your shower, bathroom, and staircases could prevent a fall that could turn a simple knee injury into chronic or even lifelong knee pain.
A simple way of dealing with an inflamed knee is to apply compression to the area. The right amount of pressure will help existing fluid to drain from the knee while preventing further fluid from accumulating. Be mindful to not compress your knee too tightly, as doing so can cause inflammation in the lower leg, ankle, or feet.
Medication And Supplements
Anti-inflammatory pain relievers are often suggested or prescribed to help reduce knee inflammation. While they certainly can play a role in reducing discomfort following a knee injury, such drugs can also carry risks of gastrointestinal problems, stroke, and cardiac disease.
Systemic enzymes are an alternative treatment that provides the same symptom alleviation as anti-inflammatory pain relievers but without the inherent risks. Systemic enzymes are proteins that assist in regulating inflammation and growing and repairing bodily tissues as needed.
* The above tips will be helpful for anyone dealing with chronic or sporadic knee inflammation. To a large extent, these tips also help promote general joint health. Used in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle, including appropriate stress management, well-rounded nutrition, carefully chosen exercises and equipment, and the right amount of restful sleep for you, these tips will not only help you treat existing knee inflammation but prevent it from reoccurring in the future.