Effusion, fluid in the knee, water in the knee, or more scientifically hydrarthrosis: these are different ways of expressing the same pathology, linked to an increase in the synovial fluid that surrounds the knee joint.
It can be thought that this pathology is linked to advancing age and is partly true, but there are many other causes that lead to the manifestation of this morbid situation and that involve people of all ages and sexes.
In this article, we explore what happens to the knee affected by a stroke, what caused this condition, and what possible symptomatic or preventive treatments may be.
Let’s start with anatomy and physiology: what is the knee?
The knee is a joint that joins two of the longest bones in our skeleton, the femur and the tibia; in the center, there is also the patella, anterior and central with respect to the knee.
The parts that make up the anatomy of the knee are the following: the articular cartilages which have the function of protecting the bone ends, so that they are not damaged during friction; tendons and ligaments that connect bones and joints to each other; two menisci, lateral and medial (also these cartilaginous compounds), which are real shock absorbers for the entire joint and allow the passage of ligaments and tendons; Last but not least, the synovial sacs that collect all the synovial fluid produced by the synovial membrane, which in turn envelops the knee with the task of lubricating the entire joint to avoid friction and friction due to natural movement.
The physiological function of this joint is obviously to support the bodyweight that is transmitted to the feet, where all the tension is released; then, even more natural, is the movement performed by this joint in the course of actions such as walking, running, jumping.
What is a knee leak?
Knee effusion is an accumulation of fluid that may contain traces of blood and is therefore called hemarthrosis or simply serous fluid, called hydrarthrosis.
This hyperproduction of synovial fluid is very often due to an inflammatory situation, to a mechanical condition that no longer functions according to the correct physiological course of the joint.
It occurs with pain due to swelling of the synovial sacs that have filled with fluid and, therefore, block the movement of joint fluid. In this case, the pains are felt more when walking and moving.
What are the triggering causes of this pathology?
The causes of knee effusion are the most diverse.
Let’s start by mentioning: trauma and contusions, which can cause the laceration of one of the two menisci; inflammation of the tendons; the tension of one of the ligaments that support the joint; patella rupture.
All those who carry out very physical jobs but, above all, those who carry out physical and sporting activities by profession, in particular contact activities such as football, basketball, rugby, volleyball, etc., run the risk of suffering trauma and bruises.
The traumatic factor can also be closely related to the individual’s overweight, which, moving and doing sports or simply standing, can cause trauma to the joint and cause the sacs that contain synovial fluid to leak. However, in the course of the sport, the same can happen with people of normal weight but with a sedentary lifestyle.
There is also a causality linked to some pathologies that also cause knee effusion. These pathologies can be bursitis, which is an inflammation of the joint bags; the presence of cysts, called “Baker”; more serious infections or cancer events.
How to diagnose this pathology?
Diagnosis is based on the use of imaging diagnostics such as X-rays,
Magnetic resonance imaging or computed axial tomography (CT). You can also proceed with the arthroscopy with which you will go to analyze the synovial fluid: from this analysis, you can understand if the effusion is caused by specific pathologies such as rheumatoid or traumatic arthritis, arthrosis, arthritis, or gout.
How to cure and prevent this pathology?
In order to proceed with the treatment of this pathological manifestation, in addition to first understanding the cause that triggered the reaction, it is also necessary to understand if the nature of the effusion is of a sanguine or synovial nature, in order to investigate the seriousness of the situation. .
Therapeutic treatment begins immediately with the application of ice to the painful area and maximum rest, with the limb extended. We then move on to less invasive therapy, which is oral or local pharmacotherapy, through the use of anti-inflammatories, also for topical use such as gel and creams based on diclofenac or ibuprofen (or other NSAIDs), but also with some oral. paracetamol. When nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs were no longer effective, oral corticosteroids would be used. If, on the contrary, the situation were not linked only to traumatic factors but also to bacterial infectious factors, antibiotics would be used.
However, in extremis, when the effusion is not reabsorbed, it will be necessary to resort to surgical intervention, in particular the aspiration of joint fluid: this outpatient intervention is called therapeutic arthrocentesis.
There is also the last therapeutic option which is arthroscopy which, to be clear, is
surgery to repair the underlying cause (such as a torn meniscus or anterior cruciate ligament) that causes the effusion.
Finally, if everything could not be repaired, it would absolutely go to the implantation of a prosthesis.