Treating Water on the Knee at Home

Are you in pain because of water on the knee? Don’t worry, you can treat it at home! Learn the best home remedies to reduce swelling and discomfort, so you can start feeling better, fast.

Quick facts: Treating Water On The Knee At Home

  • ✅ Hot and cold compresses, rest, and elevation are the most effective at-home treatments for knee pain due to water on the knee. (Healthline)
  • ✅ Physical therapy, stretching, and low-impact exercises can also help manage knee pain caused by water on the knee. (NHS)
  • ✅ Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, may be recommended to reduce pain. (Mayo Clinic)
  • ✅ Wearing supportive braces, such as a knee sleeve, can help reduce pain and swelling associated with water on the knee. (Verywell Health)
  • ✅ According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 1 in 4 adults aged 45 and over have arthritis, which is a common cause of water on the knee. (CDC)


Water on the knee is an uncomfortable condition that can make it difficult to perform daily activities. Though it is often associated with underlying medical conditions, there are several treatments that can be applied at home to reduce the symptoms.

In this article, we will discuss the causes and symptoms of water on the knee and provide tips on how to treat it.

Overview of Water on the Knee

Water on the knee (also known as synovial fluid accumulation) is the build up of fluid around the knee joint that can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness. Treatment may involve rest, ice, physical therapy, and medications. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove excess fluid.

The cause of water on the knee can be due to a variety of issues such as arthritis, gout, an infection in the joint or from a slow-healing injury. Treatment is most successful when tailored to the individual’s needs and symptoms.

In this article we’ll cover how to treat water on the knee at home with natural remedies such as exercise and lifestyle changes that have been proven effective for reducing inflammation and improving overall knee health:

Causes of Water on the Knee

Water on the knee, or knee effusion, is a condition caused by a build-up of fluid between the kneecap and the leg bone. This accumulation of fluid is usually due to an injury or an underlying medical condition. Some of the most common causes of this condition include arthritis, gout, and bursitis.

Let’s explore the various causes of water on the knee further:

Fluid retention

Fluid retention, or edema, occurs when too much fluid builds up in the body’s tissues. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • an unhealthy diet
  • lack of physical activity
  • certain medical conditions such as kidney or heart failure
  • side effects of some medications.

When fluid retention occurs near the knee joint, it may cause water on the knee. Swelling in this area can make it difficult to bend or straighten the knee and move it freely. In severe cases the pressure from swelling may result in pain and decreased range of motion.

Treating water on the knee at home typically involves lifestyle changes that will help to reduce fluid retention in the body such as:

  • increasing physical activity
  • consuming a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.

In addition to these measures, elevating the leg for short periods of time throughout the day can also help to reduce swelling associated with water on the knee.


Injury is one of the most common causes of knee water. This can include torn ligaments, strained muscles and tendons, or a fracture. Injuries to the knee can cause swelling, inflammation, and other medical issues that lead to water accumulation in the knee joint.

When a person has pain and swelling due to an injury, it can be difficult for fluid to properly circulate out of the knee joint. Over time the fluid builds up leading to pain, stiffness and reduced mobility in the knee. Treatment usually consists of:

  • Rest
  • Compression therapy
  • Physical therapy exercises
  • Medications such as ibuprofen and corticosteroids

Depending on the severity of an injury, surgery may also be recommended.


Infection is one of the most common causes of water on the knee. Bacteria, fungi, and viruses can all cause infection in the area surrounding a person’s knee joint. Symptoms of infection include redness and swelling of the knee joint, pain that radiates from the knee to other areas of the body, and a fever.

Infections can be treated with antibiotics or antifungal medications prescribed by a doctor, or by using antiseptic cream for minor infections. It is important to treat infections as soon as possible to prevent serious complications such as sepsis or gangrene from occurring.


Water on the knee is a condition that can be difficult to diagnose. It is important to identify the cause of the swelling in order to treat it effectively.

Some causes of water on the knee include conditions like arthritis, gout, and Lyme disease. It is important to identify the correct cause of the swelling in order to ensure the most effective treatment plan.

Physical exam

A physical exam is an important part of diagnosing and treating water on the knee. During a physical exam, your doctor or medical staff will assess your knee, looking for any swelling, redness, heat, or tenderness. They will also feel your knee to check for any signs of fluid retention that could be caused by fluid buildup in the joint. Additionally, they may order X-rays to look for any additional signs of water on the knee or other sources of joint pain.

It is important to receive a diagnosis from a trained medical professional so that you can get the best treatment plan for your condition.

Imaging tests

Imaging tests such as X-rays, MRI scans, and ultrasounds are sometimes used to diagnose if there is water on the knee.

  • X-rays can be used to identify any fluid that is present in the knee joint.
  • MRI scans can also be used to look for any structural damage or abnormalities that may suggest the presence of water on the knee.
  • Ultrasounds can detect soft tissue damage or infection in and around the joint, which could indicate water on the knee. During an ultrasound, high frequency sound waves are sent through a wand into your knee joint. These sound waves help create an image of the soft tissue inside your knee.

Imaging tests are often done in conjunction with other tests, such as a physical exam or laboratory testing, to provide a more accurate diagnosis of water on the knee and other possible causes for your symptoms.


Treatment of water on the knee starts with rest, compression, and elevation of the knee. This can help to reduce swelling, pain, and inflammation. It is also important to keep the affected area clean and dry to reduce the risk of infection. It is also necessary to protect the knee from further injury.

There are some other treatments to consider as well, such as medications and physical therapy. Let’s take a closer look at the different treatments available:


Rest is an important part of treating water on the knee at home. When rest is recommended, it usually means avoiding activities that cause pain, such as running and jumping. Comfort techniques can also be used to manage pain and reduce swelling, such as:

  • Icing the knee for 15 minutes 3-4 times per day
  • Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen or naproxen

It’s also important to keep your weight off of the affected knee by using crutches or a cane when walking and by avoiding activities, like sitting on the floor, that put additional strain on the joint. In some cases, a brace may be prescribed to limit movement in the knee and allow it to heal properly.


Elevation is an important part of treating water on the knee at home. Keeping the affected knee elevated above heart level with a pillow or other comfortable object can help reduce swelling and inflammation. It’s important to keep pressure off of the affected area as much as possible and to avoid any activities that may cause additional pressure. Additionally, compressing the affected area with a brace or wrap can help provide stability and reduce pain.

Proper elevation should be done multiple times per day, especially after activity or exercise. Elevation combined with rest, ice, compression and proper nutrition can help reduce symptoms associated with water on the knee.


Compression is one of the most common methods for treating water on the knee at home. When using compression, an elastic wrap or compression bandage is used to provide pressure and support to the affected joint. This helps to reduce swelling and pain while aiding in drainage of any excess fluid.

Compression bandages should be snug, but not tight enough to cut off circulation. When properly applied, you can leave them on for up to 24 hours before changing them out for a new one. It’s important that you use a clean bandage each day, as well as use a topical antibiotic cream for added protection against infection.

You should also avoid wrapping your leg too tightly, as this can limit your range of motion and delay the healing process.

Ice or heat

Ice or heat applications can be used to help treat water on the knee at home. The use of cold packs, heating pads, ice massage, and warm baths/soaks are all examples of treatment methods for water on the knee.

  • Ice should be applied for no more than 20 minutes and should be used for inflammation and pain relief.
  • Heat increases circulation to the area and can help reduce pain. Heat applications should also be limited to no more than 20 minutes at a time and can be applied by using heating pads or warm compresses.

When using either ice or heat treatment on your water on the knee it is important to wrap it in a towel so that there is no direct skin contact with either hot or cold temperatures. With both methods, alternating between heat and ice every 20 minutes can be beneficial in treating this condition at home.


Medications can be an effective treatment for water on the knee when used in conjunction with lifestyle changes. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are typically prescribed to reduce inflammation and swelling. Your doctor may also prescribe corticosteroid injections to reduce knee swelling and fluid buildup. Antibiotics may also be prescribed if infection is present, as well as diuretics to help increase urination and the removal of excess fluids in the body.

If a build-up of calcium deposits is causing your water on the knee, your doctor might also suggest medications that inhibit bone formation, such as bisphosphonates or calcitonin. Lastly, your doctor may recommend herbal remedies like turmeric or ginger as an additional support for reducing inflammation.

Home Remedies

One of the most common methods of treating water on the knee at home is through the use of natural home remedies. Home remedies are usually made from ingredients that are easily accessible in the home, are inexpensive, and are considered to be safe and effective. These remedies are often used to reduce the pain and associated swelling that comes with water on the knee.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways that you can treat water on the knee at home:

Apple cider vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is a popular home remedy for treating water on the knee. To use it, mix equal parts of ACV and warm water in a bowl or cup. Soak a cloth or cotton ball in the mixture, then apply the compress to the affected area for 20 minutes. Do this twice daily for three days or until symptoms subside.

It’s also possible to make an ACV soak if you don’t have time for compresses. Fill a shallow tub with warm water and 1 or 2 cups of ACV and soak your affected knee in it for 20 minutes. Do this two times per day until symptoms improve.

ACV has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and diuretic properties that can reduce swelling and fluid buildup around your knee joint caused by water on the knee. Additionally, its astringent properties can help dry out any excess fluid and reduce inflammation around the joint that might be contributing to pain and discomfort associated with this condition.

Epsom salt baths

Epsom salt baths are an effective treatment for water on the knee. Epsom salt, or magnesium sulfate, is a natural mineral that has many health benefits, one of which is relieving pain and swelling associated with water on the knee.

To get the most out of an Epsom salt bath, add 1-2 cups of Epsom salt to a warm bath and soak for at least 15 minutes. Additionally, some people may find relief from compressing their affected leg in an ice pack for 20 minutes at a time throughout the day.

To maximize the benefits of this home remedy, it’s important to understand how long it may take to achieve results. Generally speaking, expect to spend at least three therapeutic Epsom salt baths a week for four weeks before you should see a reduction in discomfort related to water on the knee.

Essential oils

Essential oils are derived from plants and are known for their healing properties. Common essential oils such as eucalyptus, peppermint and tea tree oil can be used to treat water on the knee. The process is simple; just add a few drops of essential oil to a cotton ball or cloth and dab it onto the affected area.

Essential oils can help reduce inflammation and pain associated with water on the knee by stimulating the circulatory system and providing antiseptic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory and wound healing benefits to the skin. It is important to keep in mind that essential oils should not be ingested orally as they can be toxic if ingested in high concentrations. Additionally, if your skin is sensitive to certain types of essential oils, it best to consult a doctor before using them for treatment purposes.

Hot and cold compresses

Hot and cold compresses are a safe and simple way to treat water on the knee at home. Cold compresses constrict blood vessels, reduce inflammation, and numb the knee joint to provide pain relief. Hot compresses relax the muscles and encourage blood flow to the area to speed up healing.

To create a hot or cold compress, fill a zip-locked plastic bag with either hot or cold water (or alternatively use an ice pack). Wrap this in a clean cloth or towel, then apply it directly to the knee for up to 15 minutes at a time. Do this several times daily, alternating between hot and cold compresses as needed. Do not keep a compress on for too long, as it can do more harm than good if kept on too long.

When to See a Doctor

If you are experiencing severe swelling, redness, and tenderness around the knee, it is best to seek medical attention from a doctor. Additionally, if home treatments are not working and pain persists, you should also consider seeking medical assistance. A doctor can diagnose the cause of your knee pain and provide treatment options.

Let’s explore when it is best to see a doctor:

Signs of infection

Signs of infection are the most important reason to see a doctor if you suspect you have water on the knee at home. Symptoms of infection include

  • redness and warmth around the affected area,
  • swollen joints,
  • fever, and
  • chills.

Additionally, if there is drainage from the site or an increase in pain and inflammation despite treatment, it’s important to seek medical attention.

Infection can quickly become serious if not treated with antibiotics promptly. Even if water on the knee resolves with home treatment, it is still necessary to visit a doctor for a follow-up exam to rule out any further complications. A doctor can assess your symptoms and advise you on how best to move forward with treatment.

Persistent swelling

Persistent swelling in the knee is a sign that medical intervention may be necessary. Generally, if the swelling of the knee has not reduced after three to five days of rest and home care, then it may be a good idea to see a doctor. Additionally, if the area becomes increasingly red, or if it feels hot to touch, or if you experience any burning or pain associated with the swelling (especially when walking or standing), then it is important to seek medical help.

In some cases, persistent knee swelling can indicate an infection such as cellulitis or septic arthritis. Therefore, seeing a doctor can help determine whether this is the cause and what treatment is required.

Lastly, there may be underlying conditions that are causing persistent swelling of your knee which should also be monitored by a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment:

  • Infection
  • Arthritis
  • Tendonitis
  • Gout
  • Bursitis
  • Tumors

Pain that is not relieved by home treatment

If you are experiencing knee pain that is not relieved by home treatment, it is important that you see a doctor for evaluation and possible treatment. Pain can be a symptom of underlying issues such as infection, arthritis, cartilage damage, or other conditions and should not be ignored. Additionally, certain medications or treatments may be necessary to help reduce swelling and inflammation in the knee joint. Having an accurate diagnosis is key to getting the best treatment for your specific condition.

If your knee pain does not improve after home treatments such as RICE (rest, ice compression and elevation), medications such as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) or gentle exercises like swimming or walking then you should seek medical attention.

FAQs about: Treating Water On The Knee At Home

Q: What are the most common ways to treat water on the knee at home?

A: The most common ways to treat water on the knee at home are to rest the knee, apply ice, use compression, and elevate the knee. Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen can also be taken to reduce inflammation and pain.

Q: What should I do if I experience pain when I have water on the knee?

A: If you experience pain when you have water on the knee, you should rest the knee, apply ice, use compression, and elevate the knee. Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen can also be taken to reduce inflammation and pain. You may also want to consult a doctor if the pain persists.

Q: Is it possible to prevent water on the knee?

A: Yes, there are some steps you can take to help prevent water on the knee, such as avoiding activities that put too much stress on the knee, strengthening the muscles around the knee, and maintaining a healthy weight. Additionally, it is important to wear proper protective gear when engaging in sports or other activities.

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