Knee

Primary Inflammatory (Synovial) Disease of the Knee

Diagnosis

Your diagnosis is a primary inflammatory condition involving the lining (synovial tissue) of your knee joint.

Injury or Condition

This condition represents a primary inflammatory disease developing within the velvety lining (synovium) of the knee. In response to inflammation, the lining tissue can thicken and hypertrophy dramatically which may lead to chronic swelling.

Cause

The cause is often unknown. Some inflammatory diseases of the knee lining involve only the knee joint (PVNS). Other diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis can affect multiple joints.

Symptoms

Typical symptoms are moderate to severe generalized swelling and pain about the knee. Marked swelling can be associated with stiffness usually in bending the knee. Increased warmth is felt about the knee in some cases.

Treatment

Standard treatment includes:

  1. Anti-inflammatory medication for six months.
  2. Safe exercises to improve strength without aggravating swelling.
  3. Ice, warm packs and knee balms can be used to decrease pain.
  4. Swelling can sometimes be reduced by application of elastic stockings and/or sleeves around the knee.
  5. Diagnostically, joint swelling aspiration and MRI can provide information, although it may not change the treatment.
  6. If non-surgical treatment fails, arthroscopic surgery to remove the diseased tissue (synovectomy) should be performed to limit or cure the disease.

Precautions

Important precautions:

  1. Do not aggravate swelling and warmth about your knee. Increased warmth and swelling may weaken your thigh muscles and may raise the risk of destructive changes within your knee.
  2. Do not ignore or neglect your condition. Follow recommendations and do not miss important follow-up visits.
  3. When arthroscopic synovectomy is necessary, elevate your limb very well for 48 hours and initiate full weight-bearing within the first 3 days of surgery.
  4. Avoid stress.

Recovery

As the cause is unknown in many cases, the recovery can be uncertain. Two-thirds of cases generally recover completely. Full recovery after arthroscopic surgery usually takes 3-6 months.

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