What are the common causes of swelling above the knee?

Swelling above the knee can be caused by a number of conditions, the most common of which is injury resulting from direct trauma. Other conditions may include a ligament injury, such as a knee sprain, bursitis, arthritis, or a strained muscle in the area. Swelling above the knee can be treated quickly and easily in many cases, but if it persists or worsens, or is accompanied by other symptoms, the injured person should seek medical advice as soon as possible.

Certain types of arthritis can cause swelling above the knee as well as in the knee joint. This swelling occurs when the ligaments in a joint begin to wear down, allowing excessive movement in the joints. This excessive movement can cause wear and tear on the bones, muscles, and tendons, and can lead to swelling. Unfortunately, there is no cure for arthritis, but preventive measures can be taken to relieve pain and slow the progress of arthritis. This treatment may include the use of anti-inflammatory medications, pain relievers, and exercise routines, as well as regular stretching routines to keep your joints healthy and move naturally.

A ligament sprain can cause swelling above the knee, although not all sprains will cause swelling in this area. A sprain occurs when the ligaments that hold the bones of a joint together are stretched beyond their capacity. Small fibers in that ligament can tear, causing pain, swelling above the knee or on the sides of the knee, and a loss of mobility. A torn ligament, or one that tears completely, will cause severe swelling and pain and may require surgery to repair. Sprains rarely require any type of surgery, but are usually treated with the RICE treatment: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. The swelling should subside within a few days, and the pain will be completely gone after several weeks. Such injuries often require physical therapy to rebuild the strength of the ligaments.

Muscle strains that are not directly associated with the knee can cause swelling above the knee. The quadriceps muscle is a long muscle that is part of the thigh, and when this muscle becomes tight, swelling can occur. A muscle strain occurs in the same way that a ligament sprain occurs: the muscle is stretched beyond its capabilities, and the tiny fibers that make up the muscle begin to tear, causing swelling and pain. A muscle rupture occurs when the muscle is completely torn from itself or from the tendons. This will cause severe pain and swelling, and the injured person should seek immediate medical attention.

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