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COVID-19 update:  Our hospital is still fully open for appointments and admissions, however visitors are not permitted.

Swollen Knee

Swelling in and around the knee joint can be caused by several common conditions.  It can come on gradually as part of a chronic condition or suddenly from an acute event or injury.

The swelling can take place within the knee joint or from the surrounding tissues depending on the cause.

Arthritis

Swelling within an arthritic knee is common as the body produces extra fluid within the joint.  The number of fluid changes over time and can be related to the activity.

Bursitis

Prepatellar bursitis, also known as housemaid’s knee, involves fluid accumulating in the bursa, a thin fluid-filled sack area on top of the patella (knee cap), outside the knee joint.

This can be caused by trauma or overuse and results in pain and swelling on the knee cap.
If swelling continues after resting the joint or if an infection is suspected, the fluid can be drained.  This simple procedure can take place in outpatients.  A sample of the fluid is tested for infection, which will be treated by antibiotics.
In some cases, the swelling will continue to return following draining the bursa.  This may require the removal of the bursa to prevent a recurrence.

Gout

 Gout is caused by a build-up of uric acid crystals in the joints, which leads to inflammation,  swelling and pain.  Pseudogout has a similar presentation but is caused by a build-up of calcium crystals.
People who suffer from gout often have acute episodes with swelling starting suddenly in one or more joint.  This can be triggered by alcohol, certain foods or medicines or can have no noticeable cause.
Gout can be diagnosed by your Consultant removing a small sample of the fluid for analysis, to see if it contains crystals.
Once your Consultant has diagnosed gout or pseudogout, they can provide advice and prescriptions of anti-inflammatories and other medicines for mild attacks and provide injection therapies for moderate and severe ones.

Trauma

 Any trauma to the knee may result in swelling, which will come on quickly over the next 24 hours. Your knee will be investigated and a sample of the fluid taken, to see if it contains blood.
The most common causes of blood in the knee are torn ligaments, most frequently the ACL or a fracture.  Swelling will occur within minutes of the injury.
If there is no blood in the fluid, this can indicate a meniscal tear or a ligament sprain.  The swelling will start quickly, within hours of the injury.
Assessment of the knee following an injury is advisable to test if there is blood in the fluid and to check for damage.  Surgery is not always required and your Consultant will advise you on the most suitable investigation and treatment plan for the type of injury and your activity levels.

Contact us today

To ask a question about swollen knee or to book an appointment, contact our specialist team available

Monday – Friday 8am – 6pm and on Saturday from 9am – 1pm.

Our knee specialists team have a dedicated and caring approach and will seek to find you the earliest appointment possible with the correct specialist for your needs.

 If you are self-paying you don’t need a referral from your GP. You can simply refer yourself and book an appointment. 

If you have medical insurance (e.g. Bupa, Axa PPP, Aviva), you will need to contact your insurer for authorisation for any treatment and, in most cases, you will require a referral letter from your GP. If you do not have a GP, then we have an in-house private GP practice that you can use. Alternatively, we can suggest the most appropriate course of action for you to take, given your location and individual circumstance.

Call us on 020 7432 8328 or email us at londonkneespecialists@hje.org.uk

Knee Clinic

The Knee Unit at St John & St Elizabeth Hospital comprises a dedicated team specialising in the diagnosis and treatment of knee pain and stiffness caused by knee conditions or injuries.

A patient speaking to a receptionist

Patient information

Our Hospital is renowned for providing exemplary levels of care across more than 90 services. From orthopaedics, to urology, ENT, as well as a private GP practice and our urgent care centre, Casualty First, our services are led by some of London’s leading Consultants. For more information, and to find a service suitable for your care, find out more about the services that we offer.

Make an enquiry

If you have any questions relating to treatment options or pricing information then get in touch with us by filling out one of our contact boxes or giving us a call on 020 7432 8328.

Our Appointments Team have a dedicated and caring approach to finding you the earliest appointment possible with the best specialist.

 If you are self-paying you don’t need a referral from your GP for a consultation. You can simply refer yourself* and book an appointment.

If you have medical insurance (e.g. Bupa, Axa PPP, Aviva), you will need to contact your insurer to get authorisation for any treatment and, in most cases, you will require a referral letter from your GP.

If you do not have a GP, then we have an in-house private GP practice that you can use. Alternatively we can suggest the most appropriate course of action for you to take, given your location and individual circumstance.

*Please note – for investigations such as X-rays and MRI’s a referral will be required. However, we may be able to arrange this for you through our on-site private GP.

    Make an enquiry

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