Swelling behind knee

Posted by rknee @rknee, Dec 20, 2020

My TKR was 3 months ago and the swelling behind my knee feels like a pocket of fluid. I think it’s the reason I can’t sit more than half an hour. My doctor just says “some people have that” or “give it time”. I have tried using the roller back and forth over it but it doesn’t seem to be reducing the swelling. Has anyone else experienced this and were you successful in reducing the pocket of fluid?

@rknee, you might find some helpful tips in this related discussion:
– Swelling and stiffness, 3 years after total knee replacement https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/swelling-and-stiffness-3-years-after-total-knee-replacement/

Swelling isn't uncommon, even 3 months after surgery. Are you still elevating your leg regularly? Do you know about doing foot pumps to keep the blood and lymph systems flowing?

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Good afternoon @rknee. You are having some unwanted issues with your "new" knee I see. At three months post-surgery, I would hope for things to have settled down a bit but I know that knees are transplanted into unique different folks with different experiences. I notice that you have had only one knee replaced. What about the other knee? Does the non-surgical knee have the same "pocket of fluid"? Did the surgery knee have a "pocket of fluid" prior to the replacement?

The reason I am asking is that what you described sounds a bit like "Baker's Cyst". It is the way our bodies try to protect us. However, it can become a nuisance. My first effort was to go back to my orthopedic surgeon who did the appropriate imaging and have the fluid extracted prior to the surgery. He told me that the surgery would predominantly take care of it.

Now…that felt pretty "A-OK". Only one problem…..the pocket fills up again as long as there is something to disturb that area of the knee. He did not want me to constantly have to have the pocket drained and so recommended the replacement.

But guess what…..now the other knee, which has had no surgery has a "Baker's Cyst". We are using the MFR to keep it under control as I am not interested in having another knee replacement at this time. Here is the link to the Mayo Clinic discussion of Baker's Cyst.
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bakers-cyst/symptoms-causes/syc-20369950
May you be safe and protected from inner and outer harm.
Chris

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@artscaping

Good afternoon @rknee. You are having some unwanted issues with your "new" knee I see. At three months post-surgery, I would hope for things to have settled down a bit but I know that knees are transplanted into unique different folks with different experiences. I notice that you have had only one knee replaced. What about the other knee? Does the non-surgical knee have the same "pocket of fluid"? Did the surgery knee have a "pocket of fluid" prior to the replacement?

The reason I am asking is that what you described sounds a bit like "Baker's Cyst". It is the way our bodies try to protect us. However, it can become a nuisance. My first effort was to go back to my orthopedic surgeon who did the appropriate imaging and have the fluid extracted prior to the surgery. He told me that the surgery would predominantly take care of it.

Now…that felt pretty "A-OK". Only one problem…..the pocket fills up again as long as there is something to disturb that area of the knee. He did not want me to constantly have to have the pocket drained and so recommended the replacement.

But guess what…..now the other knee, which has had no surgery has a "Baker's Cyst". We are using the MFR to keep it under control as I am not interested in having another knee replacement at this time. Here is the link to the Mayo Clinic discussion of Baker's Cyst.
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bakers-cyst/symptoms-causes/syc-20369950
May you be safe and protected from inner and outer harm.
Chris

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I didn’t have the problem until after knee replacement and the non-surgical knee has no issues other than mild arthritis pain in the joint. I am not going to have surgery on that knee until I absolutely have to due to all the other problems I’m having after right knee replacement. I have stopped icing and elevating since my knee itself is better but sounds like it might help the back of the knee so I will start doing it again and see if it helps the Bakers Cyst go away. Thanks for the advice!

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I'm 8 months into a total knee replacement and still have swelling. The swelling is constant—it does not seem to be related to activity or anything else. I'm very active, but nothing unreasonable. Anybody have thoughts?

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@rickraleigh

I'm 8 months into a total knee replacement and still have swelling. The swelling is constant—it does not seem to be related to activity or anything else. I'm very active, but nothing unreasonable. Anybody have thoughts?

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Hi @rickraleigh, and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. 8 months post op is a while for so much swelling. According to Healthline, mild to moderate swelling is normal for 3 to 6 months after surgery. If you are 8 months out, I would check with your surgeon about possible causes.
When you have the swelling is your knee feverish or red?

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@rickraleigh

I'm 8 months into a total knee replacement and still have swelling. The swelling is constant—it does not seem to be related to activity or anything else. I'm very active, but nothing unreasonable. Anybody have thoughts?

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I just had my 12 week check up. He said you have a lot of soft tissue swelling (Yup! It is about the size of a small cantaloupe) He said to give it a year. I also ride indoor/outdoor bike and walk. My PT said since I was an avid biker, my IT band was so tight abs contributing to the pain and swelling. I really work on stretching – like yoga.

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@njpahl

I just had my 12 week check up. He said you have a lot of soft tissue swelling (Yup! It is about the size of a small cantaloupe) He said to give it a year. I also ride indoor/outdoor bike and walk. My PT said since I was an avid biker, my IT band was so tight abs contributing to the pain and swelling. I really work on stretching – like yoga.

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@njpahl – Are you still icing the knee? I know that really helped reduce the swelling after my knee replacement along with elevating it when I was icing it.

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@johnbishop

@njpahl – Are you still icing the knee? I know that really helped reduce the swelling after my knee replacement along with elevating it when I was icing it.

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I hadn’t been because I was able to stretch some of the swelling out. However, this week has been horrible and started icing again.

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I didn’t have a knee replacement but I am familiar with the baker’s cyst. My pt at the time informed me that if it breaks it will drain into the shin. He told me to ly down and put my foot up on the arm of the sofa and pump it like your breaking the car so the fluid drains back into the muscle and the capillaries. It worked for me. I have empathy for you. You shouldn’t have to deal with so much pain.

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@njpahl

I just had my 12 week check up. He said you have a lot of soft tissue swelling (Yup! It is about the size of a small cantaloupe) He said to give it a year. I also ride indoor/outdoor bike and walk. My PT said since I was an avid biker, my IT band was so tight abs contributing to the pain and swelling. I really work on stretching – like yoga.

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@rickraleigh, @nipahl, I am going to try to add something that is part of my life right now. In fact, I am having another guided image aspiration tomorrow on my right knee. That one will have to have a TKR relatively soon. However, to keep me going right now, my orthopedic folks are draining my "small cantaloupe" every couple of weeks. In between the aspirations, my MFR therapist is pushing the fluid up into my upper leg at which time you can pee it out.

I then make sure I am using ice to keep it from filling up right away. One more thing….do you know how to do "legs up the wall". That is a yoga pose in which you place your behind against the wall and lift your legs straight up. You can move your feet around and your toes up and down. This too will force the fluid into your pelvic area and then it can be dispersed. You can find images on you tube.

Best to stay ahead of the cantaloupe.
May you be content and at ease.
Chris

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@artscaping

@rickraleigh, @nipahl, I am going to try to add something that is part of my life right now. In fact, I am having another guided image aspiration tomorrow on my right knee. That one will have to have a TKR relatively soon. However, to keep me going right now, my orthopedic folks are draining my "small cantaloupe" every couple of weeks. In between the aspirations, my MFR therapist is pushing the fluid up into my upper leg at which time you can pee it out.

I then make sure I am using ice to keep it from filling up right away. One more thing….do you know how to do "legs up the wall". That is a yoga pose in which you place your behind against the wall and lift your legs straight up. You can move your feet around and your toes up and down. This too will force the fluid into your pelvic area and then it can be dispersed. You can find images on you tube.

Best to stay ahead of the cantaloupe.
May you be content and at ease.
Chris

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Thank you for this. I am going to add this to my daily stretches. I started riding my indoor bike “ normally” and may be just pushing too hard.

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@rickraleigh

I'm 8 months into a total knee replacement and still have swelling. The swelling is constant—it does not seem to be related to activity or anything else. I'm very active, but nothing unreasonable. Anybody have thoughts?

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I find edema massage helps – move from toes to torso; compression socks, elevation of legs and heel/toe "pumping."

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