What is knee swelling?

Swelling of the knee can be caused by injuries to the joint as well as many different medical conditions. Depending upon the cause, knee swelling may be painful or may not produce any other symptoms. In some cases, you may notice tenderness, warmth, difficulties with moving your knee joint, muscle weakness, or bleeding or bruising. Injuries to your knee, including sprains (damage to the stabilizing ligaments of the joint), can lead to diffuse swelling of the knee area.

Knee Problems Spotlight

Other possible causes of knee swelling include abscesses (infections); tumors of the skin, soft tissue, or bones; bleeding; or deformity of the joint accompanying fracture of any of the bones of the knee joint.

Swelling of the knee may be associated with injury and may be accompanied by more-serious injuries to the joint. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) for serious symptoms, such as paralysis or inability to move a body part, loss of sensation, absent pulses in the feet, uncontrolled or heavy bleeding, or uncontrollable pain.

If your knee swelling persists or causes you concern, seek prompt medical care.


What other symptoms might occur with knee swelling?

Knee swelling may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Symptoms that affect the knee may, in some cases, also involve other body systems.

Localized symptoms that may occur along with knee swelling

Knee swelling may accompany other localized symptoms including:

  • Bleeding or bruising
  • Read more about knee swellingsymptoms


What causes knee swelling?

Knee swelling can be a result of infection, inflammation, trauma or injury, bleeding, and, rarely, tumors.

Infectious causes of behind knee swelling

Knee swelling may be caused by infectious processes including:

  • Abscesses
  • Cellulitis (infection of the skin and subcutaneous tissue)

Inflammatory causes of knee swelling... Read more about knee swellingcauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 6, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Bones, Joints and Muscles

What's Causing Your Symptoms?