Healthy Blog

What is an Effusion? Can Physiotherapy Restore My Mobility?

Monday, December 28, 2015

Damage to your knee can cause a painful build-up of joint lubrication fluid.  This is often called water on the knee or an effusion.  An effusion can be caused by a knee injury like a broken bone, a torn ligament or by over-training/repetitive strain.  In addition, fluid build-up is common in osteoarthritis/rheumatoid arthritis or infection.

  • Swelling of your knee
  • Stiffness that prevents bending or straightening your knee as far as usual
  • Pain around the knee so you’re unable to put any weight on it

Drug treatment

  • Pain medication like NSAID drugs to help control your pain
  • Antibiotics if you’ve got an infection
  • Corticosteroid injections can be injected into the knee joint to treat severe swelling, but they’re only for occasional use owing to their serious side-effects

Physiotherapy treatment plan

Physiotherapy can do a lot to reduce the symptoms of an effusion and help you to regain the full range of movements in your knee.  Initially rest and heat treatment are excellent ways to reduce the swelling and pain in your knee joint. 

If your pain is acute and the knee joint unstable, the physiotherapist can supply a brace to prevent incorrect movements of the bones.  In addition, a walking aid is often used to avoid stress on the joint and encourage a beneficial way of walking.

Restoring mobility

After the initial phase of treatment has dealt with the pain, the physiotherapy will focus on increasing your mobility through joint manipulation, massage and stretching to help your progression back to normal activity. 

In addition, a course of tailor-made exercises under the physio’s supervision will begin to strengthen the muscles that guide and control the knee joint.  This is important to prevent you developing a weak knee joint that’s going to be easily damaged in the future.

Regaining JPS

A healthy knee joint sends a stream of electrical impulses up to the brain - so it’s always aware of the knee’s exact position, muscle activity and movement.  This is known as joint position sense (JPS) or pro-prioception and physiotherapy is essential to restore this to its normal level for complete knee joint rehabilitation.

You can help your progress tremendously by following the physio’s advice carefully and continuing the special exercises at home regularly.  In the majority of cases, people return to their normal activities after physiotherapy - with no long-term problems!

Do you want to know more? Greater West Physiotherapy in conjunction with Physio Inq offers free initial appointments. Find your closest Physio Inq clinic today. We aim to provide clearer, faster, longer results for your total care. Just mention this article for your free appointment today.