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What Causes a Knee to Swell?

what causes a knee to swell

It discusses the causes of knee swelling, a common symptom that can affect people of all ages and health levels. Knees are susceptible to various kinds of injuries and conditions that may lead to infection and fluid buildup. This article by fivalifitness looks at some of the most common causes of knee swelling, lifestyle factors that may contribute to swelling in the knee, as well as treatment options for knee swelling.

Common Causes

Knee swelling may result from a variety of factors, including:

  • Injuries: Twists, strains, and fractures may lead to knee swelling. Torn ligaments or menisci can also cause knee swelling.
  • Osteoarthritis: This is a degenerative joint disease that causes inflammation and swelling of the knee joint.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: An autoimmune disorder causing long-term inflammation of the joints, including the knee.
  • Gout: A type of joint inflammation resulting from a buildup of uric acid, which may cause sudden and severe swelling to the knee joint.
  • Bursitis: The inflammation of the little fluid-filled sacs (bursae) lining the knee joint.
  • Overuse or repetitive strain: Repetitive stress can cause knee swelling due to wear and tear.
  • Obesity: Excess weight can add pressure on the knee joint, leading to inflammation and swelling.
  • Poor footwear: The wearing of unsupportive shoes can result in an imbalance in the knee joint, leading to swelling.


The most visible indication of knee swelling is an increase in knee size. Other typical symptoms include:

  • Stiffness and reduced range of motion: The knee swelling may render it difficult to fully flex or straighten the leg.
  • discomfort: Knee swelling can cause discomfort, particularly while walking or putting weight on the affected leg.
  • Warmth and redness: the layer of skin surrounding the joint in the knee may become red and warm to the touch.
  • Difficulty bearing weight: Because of the discomfort and swelling in the knee, it may be difficult to stand or walk.
  • Popping or cracking sounds: When some patients move their knee joints, they may hear popping or cracking sounds.

Treatment Options for Knee Swelling

The treatment for knee swelling varies by the underlying cause. Among the most prevalent therapeutic options are:

  • Rest and ice: Applying ice to the affected knee might help reduce swelling and pain.
  • Compression: Wearing a compression bandage or knee sleeve might help support and minimize swelling in the knee.
  • Medications: OTC pain medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen may ease pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Physical therapy: Physical therapist-recommended exercises and stretches can help improve knee strength and flexibility.
  • Injections: Corticosteroid injections can aid with knee inflammation and pain.
  • Surgery: Surgical intervention may be required in some cases to address the underlying cause of knee swelling, such as a torn meniscus or ligament.

Prevention of Knee Swelling

To prevent knee swelling, individuals can take the following measures:

  • Maintain a healthy weight: Excess weight can increase pressure on the knees, leading to inflammation and swelling.
  • Engage in regular exercise: Regular exercise can help strengthen the muscles and ligaments around the knee joint, reducing the risk of injury and swelling.
  • Wear comfortable shoes: Shoes that provide good support and fit well can help decrease the chances of knee injuries and reduce swelling.
  • Warm up before physical activity: Warming up and stretching before engaging in physical activity can help prepare the muscles and joints for movement, reducing the risk of injury.
  • Take breaks during prolonged periods of standing or sitting: Frequent breaks can help avoid strain on the knees and minimize swelling.
  • Use proper lifting techniques: Lifting heavy objects with proper form can help reduce the risk of knee injuries.
  • Avoid high-impact activities: High-impact activities, such as running or jumping, can put excessive stress on the knees, increasing the chance of injury and swelling.


Swollen Knee Symptoms, Causes & Treatments

Tips for Knee Pain and Swelling – YouTube

Emily Brook

Emily Brook

Hi, I'm Emily, a Health and Fitness Specialist with FivaliFitness. With years of experience in the fitness industry as a certified personal trainer, I am passionate about helping individuals achieve their health and fitness goals.

Whether you're new to fitness or an experienced athlete, our products and resources are designed to support and enhance your fitness journey. So, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to me at any time!

The information provided in articles written by Fivali is intended for educational and reference purposes only. The content on this website ( is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We do not recommend self-diagnosis or self-treatment based on the information provided in our articles. Always consult a qualified healthcare professional if you have any concerns about your health or well-being.
If you are experiencing any symptoms or discomfort, we strongly encourage you to seek medical attention from a qualified healthcare professional. Only a licensed healthcare practitioner can provide an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan tailored to your individual needs.

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