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Video:What Is Joint Effusion?

with Dr. Robert Fenell

Joint effusion is a common and painful ailment, and there are a number of ways to treat it. Here's a brief profile of what joint effusion is.See Transcript

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Transcript:What Is Joint Effusion?

Hello, I'm Dr. Robert Fenell, founder of HandAndFootClinicsOfAmerica.com, and I'm here today on behalf of About.com to talk to you about joint effusion.

Definition of Joint Effusion

Joint effusion is another name for joint swelling or fluid that builds up within the joint space. It can be the result of acute or chronic stress to a joint, maybe from misalignment of two bones that make up a joint, or from a blunt injury to the joint, or possibly an inflammatory process such as arthritis that affects the joint. Sometimes, joint effusion can be visible to the naked eye, such as a puffy knee appearance, looking at a patient's injured knee, with a lot of swelling around that area. It can also be very minimal swelling within the joint, that's not actually visible to the naked eye.

Treatments for Joint Effusion

Common medications to treat joint effusion include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDS, steroidal medications, or injections that go directly into the tissue. With certain inflammatory conditions, the doctor may choose to drain off some of the inflammatory fluid from within the joint, and even have it tested in the laboratory for infection. If they find infection, a course of antibiotics might be prescribed. There are also conservative measures that can be implemented for a patient that's suffering with joint effusion, such as: ice therapy, applying an ice pack directly over the inflamed, swollen joint; gentle range of motion activities creating motion in the joint can help to flush out some of the swelling that's built up, especially if the patient lives a sedentary lifestyle; and chiropractic joint manipulation can also be a valuable tool by restoring the healthy alignment to the joint that's involved. This can help the body to get rid of and flush away that swelling naturally.

Diet Can Affect Joint Effusion

A patient's diet can also play a huge role in the inflammatory swelling process that occurs in our body. So sometimes, strict changes need to be made to a patient's diet if they suffer from continual, ongoing joint swelling or effusion. Diets that are high in salt, sugar, hydrogenated fats, bad meats/fatty meats, dairy items – those typically produce more inflammation in the body and as a result they will cause the joint swelling and effusion to last longer and precipitate more and more. Also, being sure to drink an adequate amount of water each day, and reduce the intake of caffeinated beverages or soda pops, can also fight and reduce swelling in the joints.

Wrapping the Site of Your Joint Effusion

If the joint effusion is visible to the naked eye, you can use an elastic wrap and start from beneath the joint and work upward towards the central part of the body, wrapping the area, causing a slight compression, to help flush out the fluid and toxins from that area. If you are suffering with joint effusion, be certain to mention it to your doctor so he or she can evaluate it and take the necessary steps to help you and take the proper course of action.

Thank you for watching this video. If you'd like to find out more about this topic, please visit us online at About.com.

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