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Degeneration of the cartilage in the knee leading to osteoarthritis, inflammation of the knee joint causing rheumatoid arthritis and infections lead to a chronically painful, swollen and stiff knee that can limit one’s ability to move, bend, turn and carry out day-to-day activities.
Gaining a thorough knowledge of the currently available treatments, can help you opt for the best course of treatment, to help relieve your joint pain during its early stage and get you back into the swing of things. Some of the treatments currently used for alleviating knee joint pains have been listed below. Over-the-counter pain killers or NSAIDs like aspirin, diclofenac, ibuprofen are the most commonly prescribed drugs that can be taken on a long-term basis to reduce pain and swelling in the knees.
However, COX-1 inhibitors like ibuprofen and naproxen also target certain proteins lining the stomach leading to side-effects like ulcers, indigestion, burning sensation or serious stomach problems.
Hence, patients allergic to these medicines can take COX-2 inhibitors like celebrex that are only present at the site of inflammation and selectively target prostaglandins responsible for inflammation and knee joint pains, without causing many adverse effects.
Corticosteroids like cortisone (cortone), hydrocortison (cortef) dexamethasone (decadron) etc., are powerful drugs related to cortisol, a hormone released by adrenal cortex to help the body cope with stress related to infections, injuries, inflammation, etc. At one point, steroids were considered as a ‘cure’ for arthritis because of the striking and dramatic improvements seen in arthritic patients.However, as its use expanded, its side effects emerged in the form of increased susceptibility to infection that resulted from the ability of corticosteroids to impede the functioning of white blood cells that destroy foreign bodies.
Hence, patients have been warned against using high doses, over prolonged periods of time, thus making the use of corticosteroids, more conservative. Biologics are a new class of genetically engineered drugs (FDA approved), that mimics the effects of proteins naturally made by our body’s immune system that specifically target and inhibit enzymes responsible for the stimulation of arthritic inflammation.
These drugs are engineered by inserting human genes that normally interfere with biologic substances like interleukins and tissue necrosis factor (TNF) that cause or worsen inflammation, into non-human cell cultures, leading to the production of large amounts of a biologic drug.Hence, biologics have revolutionized the treatment for arthritic pain by significantly reducing the adverse effects associated with NSAID’s. Even though the stiffness and pain experienced while moving the joints, restricts movement in the knee, arthritic patients must follow a slow, controlled physical movement to improve blood circulation in the joints that can in turn prevent the buildup of toxins responsible for arthritic pain and inflammation. Simple asanas involving slow, steady and controlled movements like basic movement, tadagasana, pavanamuktasana (1 leg & 2 legs), makarasana, etc.
However, asanas must not be maintained for a long time to prevent the muscles in the joints from getting excessively strained.
Application of moderate heat using hot water bags or heat pads can help to improve blood circulation in the knees.
Steam bath and a sun bath for about 10-15 minutes have been shown to produce a similar effect. Stretching like hamstring stretches and a range of movement or motion exercises can keep your knees limber and flexible. Walking for about 30 minutes a day using a cane or an assertive device has also been recommended for arthritic patients to prevent stiffness in the knees that can increase the pain.
Found to be most beneficial for mobile patients, a knee brace worn around the knee, works by relieving pressure off the part of the knee joint, helps in the proper alignment of the knee, thus, providing enough stability needed to perform daily activities. The commencement of an “Artificial Knee Joint Operation” has led to corrections of knee deformities in patients with severe arthritic conditions, whose knee joint pain could not be relieved using the conventional treatments of arthritis.


However, the artificial joints can become loose and unstable, needing a revival surgery and hence, these surgeries are only reserved for patients whose stiffness and knee pain could not be relieved using other methods, when X-rays show irreparable damage to the knees and when these functional limitations restrict their day-to-day activities.
Hence, the key to gaining the best outcome is to make the right decision in opting for one of the above-mentioned treatments, by getting a thorough evaluation done by your doctor that can help you get rid of arthritic knee pain.
Knee swelling most commonly develops after an injury but does sometimes come on for no obvious reason or due to an ongoing knee problem. A tear in the outer rim of the cartilage lining the knee3)Bone Fracture: A break in one of the knee bonesA swollen knee like this needs urgent medical attention. Usually, knee swelling remains inside the knee joint as the joint capsule acts like a barrier, preventing the fluid from escaping. Knee effusion or swelling of the knee occurs when excess fluid accumulates in or around the knee joint.
This is clinical photograph of 55 years old lady who came with complaint of knee pain in left knee. Osteoarthritis can occur after injury or most commonly with wear and tear of joints with aging. Osteoarthritis is occurs more in overweight or obese individuals as the body places more weight on the knee joint.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory arthritis that leads to progressive joint destruction and painful, stiff, and swollen joints. Infectious arthritis or synovitis can occur as a result of a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection, usually via the bloodstream from another part of the body, such as a person’s skin, nose, throat, ears, or an existing wound. Common bacterial causes of infectious arthritis include Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Staphylococcus aureus.. Psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory joint disease that’s linked with psoriasis, a skin condition.
It is also called arthrocentesis, this procedure includes withdrawal of fluid from inside the knee for analysis such as cell count, culture for bacteria, and examination for crystals, such as uric acid or calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate ram crystals found in gout or pseudogout. Xrays may be normal or might reveal the underlying pathology such as fracture.It may reveal signs of osteoarthritis.
Magnetic resonance imaging is useful for detecting abnormalities of the bone or knee joint, such as a tear in the ligaments, tendons or cartilage. For example apart from rest and analgesics, antitubercular drugs are presctiFor instance, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used in treating swollen joints with OA.
For inflammatory types of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis  treatment may include NSAIDs, steroid medications, and disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and biologic agents such as tumor necrosis factor inhibitors.
Antibiotics, often intravenous are required for treatment of acute bacterial arthritis and often accompanied by drainage of pus from the joint by open surgery. Subscribe to our Newsletter and get latest publications on Musculoskeletal Health your email inbox.


About Dr Arun Pal SinghArun Pal Singh is an orthopedic and trauma surgeon, founder and chief editor of this website.
This website is an effort to educate and support people and medical personnel on orthopedic issues and musculoskeletal health. Quantitative Ultrasound or QUSQuantitative ultrasound is an ultrasound based modality to measure bone mineral density in osteoporosis. These drugs work by slowing down the progression of the disease by inactivating cyclooxygenase (COX-1 and COX-2) enzymes, required for the synthesis of prostaglandins that primarily act as mediators of inflammation in the body. Similar to NSAID’s, they act by blocking the production of substances like prostaglandins that can trigger an inflammatory response in the joints. Also, basic pranayama involving deep breathing with inhalation via right nostril and exhalation via both nostrils, creating a honey bee sound (Hmm…) have been found to be very effective in treating arthritis. Heat, when accompanied by a light massage using essential oils containing extracts of cherry, chamomile, pomegranate and black seed can produce a soothing effect by make joint movements easier, enabling the patients to move around more comfortably. A massage, followed by asanas has been found to be far more effective in treating arthritic pain than a massage or asanas done alone.
Also, strengthening exercises build muscle strength in order to stabilize weak joints, thereby reducing the knee pain associated with arthritis. New advancements made in artificial joint technology involving replacement of a damaged or arthritic knee with a plastic or a metal device has enabled 90-95% of patients (both youngsters and old-aged) to move around normally and lead a pain-free life.
Here we will look at what causes knee swelling to develop, the different ways in which the knee swells, what is serious and what isn't, and the best ways to treat a swollen knee. Arthritis, injury to the ligaments of the knee or infection cause body’s natural reaction is to surround the knee with a protective fluid. Osteoarthritis causes destruction of the cartilage the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones.
It occur is a type of arthritis caused by deposition of calcium pyrophosphate in and around the joints.
Also, painful, swollen joints may be caused by bursitis, tendinitis, dislocations, strains, sprains, or even fractures.
Stiffness of the joint may accompany- it may become difficult to bend or straighten the knee in certain cases. Leucocytes, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and perhaps the level of C-reactive protein may be raised in infection.



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