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Swelly knees

Jan 12th, 2014

Emily asked The Guru for the following Physiotherapy Advice:

Hi!

Just wanting some feedback… Within the last month, had 3 instances where my right knee becomes extremely inflamed (esp on inner side of knee) and stiff. Generally subsides in few days with rest and compression. Only possible precursor is about month ago I fell down stairs and twisted my Rt ankle badly (landing on my bottom, so may have twisted my knee same time!). Also, have noticed swelling is worst when days v cold! I am retired ballerina (of 20 yrs) , now working long and active shifts in restaurant… the pain is no bother to me, just the swelling is quite significant…wondering if I should seek further assessment… or just continue with standard RICE/ anti-inflam protocols?

Thanks 🙂 Em.

The Guru Responded:

Hi Em

Never sure that swelling, anywhere is great.

I think given your history it may be prudent to knock this up a notch and get an appointment with your GP, to get into the system.

It sounds as if you may have a grumbling or low level issue with your meniscus (knee cartilage). Standing all day increases the load and shear on the cartilage, which causes the joint to become irritable and swollen. The cartilage doesn’t have any nerve fibres and so isn’t painful.

The fall down the stairs may have been an accelerant type injury to your swelling. A good assessment will help get to the bottom of this, or an MRI will tie it up.

Use ice (and RICE), use anti inflams (if you can) and I think you should get hold of a compressive knee sleeve that you can slip on in the morning and take off at night. What you wear on your feet during the day will also make a difference. You need support and cushioning.

I don’t think this is a big issue, but do keep on top of it.

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