What does fact checked mean?
At Healthfully, we strive to deliver objective content that is accurate and up-to-date. Our team periodically reviews articles in order to ensure content quality. The sources cited below consist of evidence from peer-reviewed journals, prominent medical organizations, academic associations, and government data.
The information contained on this site is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a professional health care provider. Please check with the appropriate physician regarding health questions and concerns. Although we strive to deliver accurate and up-to-date information, no guarantee to that effect is made.
When you suffer from a condition known as knee joint effusion, a certain amount of excess fluid has collected around or even within the joint of your knee. Often referred to as "water on the knee," the effusion is more so a complication of another condition 1. Most of the time, the fluid is synovial in nature, meaning that it comes directly from the joint itself, but you also may find that the fluid consists of something else, such as blood or even bacteria.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
The most common symptom of knee joint effusion is that of pain or discomfort, but you also may experience some swelling, stiffness and even bruising, depending on the cause of the excess fluid.
What Causes Fluid on Your Knee?
In most cases of water on the knee, the fluid accumulation is a result of an injury, such as a broken bone or torn ligament within the leg 1. This can occur during a fall or direct blow as well as from repetitive stress or overuse of the knee, like with any sport that involves a great deal of running or impact on the knees. But injury alone isn't the only cause of this condition. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are other common diseases that tend to cause effusion. Even conditions like gout or the formation of tumors and cysts can trigger the retention of fluid in and around your knee.
- In most cases of water on the knee, the fluid accumulation is a result of an injury, such as a broken bone or torn ligament within the leg 1.
- Even conditions like gout or the formation of tumors and cysts can trigger the retention of fluid in and around your knee.
Although the complications of knee joint effusion are minimal, there is the potential for problems, especially when the condition is left unchecked. Besides hindering your overall mobility, you also can experience deterioration of the joint when the cause of the effusion is an infection, so make sure to seek medical advice.
Pes Anserine Bursitis Exercises
Most treatments for knee joint effusion are based on the cause of the condition, making a "standard" approach to care nonexistent. However, many people with water on the knee need to have the excess fluid removed, so you may undergo a procedure known as aspiration 1. Other than that, you may need a series of corticosteroid injections, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or antibiotics to reduce inflammation or treat an infection. For others, knee surgery or even joint replacement may be necessary.
Along with any sort of medical care, knee joint effusion responds well to simple self-care measures, such as rest and elevation as well as icing and exercise. As with any sort of injury, ice should be applied to the affected area only for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. With exercise, a series of fitness activities are established by a physical therapist to strengthen the area to support the weakened knee.
What Causes Fluid on Your Knee?
Pes Anserine Bursitis Exercises
Knee Cap Pain & Swelling
Pain Above the Knee Cap With Running
Fluid on the Knee Symptoms
Home Remedy to Remove Fluid Around the Knee
How to Get Rid of Fluid on Knee
A Fluid-Filled Sac on the Front of the Knee
What Causes Gout and Bursitis?
What Are the Causes of Bilateral Elbow Pain?
- Mayo Clinic: Water on the Knee
- American Academy of Family Physicians: Acute Knee Effusion
- Gerena LA, DeCastro A. Knee effusion. StatPearls. Updated May 5, 2019.
- Gupte C, St Mart JP. The acute swollen knee: diagnosis and management. J R Soc Med. 2013;106(7):259–268. doi:10.1177/0141076813482831
- Hui AY, McCarty WJ, Masuda K, Firestein GS, Sah RL. A systems biology approach to synovial joint lubrication in health, injury, and disease. Wiley Interdiscip Rev Syst Biol Med. 2012;4(1):15–37. doi:10.1002/wsbm.157
- Mathison DJ, Teach SJ. Approach to knee effusions. Pediatr Emerg Care. 2009;25(11):773-86. doi:10.1097/PEC.0b013e3181bec987
- Chatra PS. Bursae around the knee joints. Indian J Radiol Imaging. 2012;22(1):27–30. doi:10.4103/0971-3026.95400
- Kakarlapudi TK, Bickerstaff DR. Knee instability: isolated and complex. West J Med. 2001;174(4):266–272. doi:10.1136/ewjm.174.4.266
- Everhart JS, Sojka JH, Kaeding CC, Bertone AL, Flanigan DC. The ACL injury response: A collagen-based analysis. Knee. 2017;24(3):601-607. doi:10.1016/j.knee.2017.01.013
- Fox AJ, Bedi A, Rodeo SA. The basic science of human knee menisci: structure, composition, and function. Sports Health. 2012;4(4):340–351. doi:10.1177/1941738111429419
- Levy DR. The swollen knee. Can Fam Physician. 1983;29:2197–2203. PMID: 21283481
- Goldring MB, Otero M. Inflammation in osteoarthritis. Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2011;23(5):471–478. doi:10.1097/BOR.0b013e328349c2b1
- Peeler J, Christian M, Cooper J, Leiter J, Macdonald P. Managing Knee Osteoarthritis: The Effects of Body Weight Supported Physical Activity on Joint Pain, Function, and Thigh Muscle Strength. Clin J Sport Med. 2015;25(6):518-23. doi:10.1097/JSM.0000000000000173
- Guo Q, Wang Y, Xu D, Nossent J, Pavlos NJ, Xu J. Rheumatoid arthritis: pathological mechanisms and modern pharmacologic therapies. Bone Res. 2018;6:15. Published 2018 Apr 27. doi:10.1038/s41413-018-0016-9
- Shirtliff ME, Mader JT. Acute septic arthritis. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2002;15(4):527–544. doi:10.1128/cmr.15.4.527-544.2002
- Sidari A, Hill E. Diagnosis and Treatment of Gout and Pseudogout for Everyday Practice. Prim Care. 2018;45(2):213-236. doi:10.1016/j.pop.2018.02.004
- Rock KL, Kataoka H, Lai JJ. Uric acid as a danger signal in gout and its comorbidities. Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2013;9(1):13–23. doi:10.1038/nrrheum.2012.143
- Molloy ES, Mccarthy GM. Calcium crystal deposition diseases: update on pathogenesis and manifestations. Rheum Dis Clin North Am. 2006;32(2):383-400, vii. doi:10.1016/j.rdc.2006.02.001
- The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Common Knee Injuries - OrthoInfo - AAOS. [online] Orthoinfo.aaos.org. Published 2019
Based in Minneapolis, Minn., Dana Severson has been writing marketing materials for small-to-mid-sized businesses since 2005. Prior to this, Severson worked as a manager of business development for a marketing company, developing targeted marketing campaigns for Big G, Betty Crocker and Pillsbury, among others.