A swollen knee can be the result of a sports-related injury, arthritic changes, cartilage deterioration, or even gout. Gout is a type of arthritis that can cause the deposit of irritating uric acid crystals to form on the joints of your knees, ankles, fingers, and on the joints of your big toes. While gout typically affects the feet, it can affect your knees as well. The combination of gout and an existing knee injury can cause extreme pain, inflammation, redness, and decreased range-of-motion.
To relieve the pain and inflammation of gout-related knee pain, consider using a knee compression sleeve or brace to help support your knee, while providing comfort and stability to the affected joint. To determine if your knee pain is related to gout, your doctor may order a serum uric acid test. If your levels of uric acid are elevated, you may have gout. This type of arthritis is generally treated with medications that lower uric acid levels, anti-inflammatory medications, weight loss, avoiding smoking, and avoiding foods rich in purines.
A knee compression sleeve, knee brace, or supportive device can help relieve swelling, however, in order for them to be effective, they must fit properly. A device that is too tight will restrict blood flow and decrease circulation, while a supportive device that is too loose will have little effect on your symptoms.
If you have been diagnosed with a blood clot, venous insufficiency, or are taking prescription anticoagulant medications to help thin your blood, talk to your health care provider before using a supportive joint device, brace, or knee compression sleeve on your knee. While a swollen knee that is caused by both gout and a previous injury can cause severe limitations in your activities of daily living, it can be well-managed, when early and appropriate treatment is implemented.