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Causes of Knee Swelling and Stiffness

Knee swelling and stiffness can arise from various causes, ranging from injuries and trauma to underlying medical conditions. Understanding the root causes of these symptoms is essential for proper diagnosis and effective treatment. In this section, we will explore the common causes of knee swelling and stiffness, including injuries, arthritis, and other medical conditions.

Injuries and Trauma

One of the leading causes of knee swelling and stiffness is injuries and trauma to the knee joint. These can occur due to accidents, sports-related incidents, or even simple missteps. Let's examine some common types of knee injuries:

Sprains and Strains

Sprains occur when the ligaments in the knee are stretched or torn. This can happen when the knee is forcefully twisted or bent, causing damage to the ligaments that support the joint. Strains, on the other hand, involve the stretching or tearing of muscles or tendons around the knee. Both sprains and strains can lead to swelling, pain, and stiffness.

Ligament Tears

Tearing of the knee ligaments is another common injury that can result in swelling and stiffness. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and the medial collateral ligament (MCL) are particularly susceptible to tears. These injuries often occur during activities that involve sudden stops, changes in direction, or direct impact to the knee.

Meniscus Injuries

The meniscus is a C-shaped piece of cartilage that acts as a cushion and shock absorber in the knee joint. When the meniscus is torn, typically due to twisting or turning motions, it can cause significant pain, swelling, and stiffness. Meniscus injuries are quite common, especially among athletes and individuals who participate in activities that involve repetitive knee movements.

Fractures

Fractures or breaks in the bones around the knee can lead to severe swelling, pain, and stiffness. These fractures can occur due to high-impact injuries, falls, or accidents. Fractures require immediate medical attention and often involve immobilization and sometimes surgical intervention to heal properly.

Arthritis

Arthritis is another common cause of knee swelling and stiffness, particularly in older individuals. There are different types of arthritis that can affect the knee joint, including:

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that occurs when the protective cartilage in the knee wears down over time. This condition is often associated with aging and is characterized by inflammation, pain, and stiffness in the affected joint. Osteoarthritis can gradually worsen, leading to significant mobility issues if left untreated.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation in the joints, including the knees. The immune system mistakenly attacks the synovium, the lining of the joints, leading to swelling, pain, and stiffness. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect individuals of any age and often requires ongoing management to control symptoms and prevent joint damage.

Gout

Gout is a form of arthritis that occurs due to the buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints, including the knees. It typically presents with sudden and severe attacks of pain, swelling, and stiffness. Gout primarily affects men and is often associated with dietary factors and underlying medical conditions.

Other Medical Conditions

Apart from injuries and arthritis, there are several other medical conditions that can contribute to knee swelling and stiffness. These include:

Bursitis

Bursitis is the inflammation of the bursae, small fluid-filled sacs that act as cushions between bones, tendons, and muscles. Knee bursitis can occur due to repetitive motions, overuse, or direct trauma to the knee. It leads to swelling, tenderness, and stiffness around the affected bursa.

Tendinitis

Tendinitis refers to the inflammation of tendons, the thick cords that attach muscles to bones. It can occur in the knee due to repetitive activities or overuse of the tendons. Tendinitis causes pain, swelling, and stiffness, particularly during movement.

Infection

In rare cases, knee swelling and stiffness may be caused by an infection in the joint. Bacterial, viral, or fungal infections can lead to inflammation and fluid accumulation, resulting in significant discomfort and limited mobility. Prompt medical attention is crucial to prevent further complications in such cases.

Obesity and Excessive Weight

Excessive weight and obesity can put added stress on the knee joints, leading to increased wear and tear, inflammation, and eventual swelling and stiffness. Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for reducing the risk of developing knee problems and managing existing symptoms effectively.

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Understanding the various causes of knee swelling and stiffness is the first step towards finding appropriate solutions. Whether it's due to injuries, arthritis, or other medical conditions, identifying the underlying cause can help guide treatment options and improve outcomes. In the next section, we will explore how the FlexiKnee device specifically addresses these symptoms and offers relief.