What Factors Determine the Appropriate Treatment for Fluid in the Knee?

Appropriate treatment for fluid in the knee depends on factors such as the cause of the condition, its severity and the patient's medical history, according to Mayo Clinic. A swollen knee can result from injury, trauma or an underlying health condition that causes excess fluid to accumulate within the knee. Medication and removal of the fluid help to relieve the pain and stiffness. Possible medical treatments include physical therapy, injections or surgery.

In some cases, a person can treat a swollen knee at home with rest, ice, compression and elevation, explains WebMD. Over-the-counter medication may be sufficient to address pain and inflammation, and gentle massage and stretching may also help. After a day or two of home treatment, if symptoms do not improve or become more severe or signs of infection develop, seek medical attention.

Doctors typically begin treatment with pain medication and corticosteroids to reduce inflammation, states Mayo Clinic. Removal of the fluid in the knee also alleviates pain and stiffness, and provides doctors a sample of the fluid to determine the cause of the swelling. Some patients require more invasive procedures such as an arthroscopy to repair the damaged tissue or knee replacement surgery if other measures fail.