What Does Fluid Around the Knee Mean?

Written by carolyn green
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The medical term for fluid around the knee or water on the knee is joint effusion. Small amounts of fluid are perfectly normal; however, there could be an underlying condition if the fluid creates swelling.

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Synovial fluid keeps our joints mobile. The fluid is found in the knees, hips, shoulders and other joints.


Small amounts of snynovial fluid are necessary for joint function. The fluid lubricates the cartilage surfaces so that they move smoothly, and helps nourish and protect the cartilage surfaces of the joint.


Too much fluid around the knee can be caused by certain underlying conditions. These include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, cysts, tumours, infection and trauma.


Signs of water on the knee depend on the cause of the fluid build-up. They can include pain, swelling, stiffness and bruising.


Problems also can occur when the synovial fluid contains bacteria, blood or irritating crystals.


Treatment depends on the cause of the fluid accumulation. You should see an orthopaedic surgeon if you experience knee pain or suspect fluid build-up.

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