How to get fluid out of your Knee Naturally

Dr. Alberto
Dr. Alberto Parra

We are going to explain to you all about the mysterious “Water on the Knee“, but first lets find out if this is something that you should be worried about in the first place? It has often been said that only two things can be expected with certainty. This is a famous reference of course to Death and Taxes. Nobody can escape death, and everybody must pay taxes to participate in our civilized society.

But I am willing to say that we can assuredly add one more thing to that list. There are three things we can all expect with certainty in the future; Death, Taxes, and KNEE JOINT PAIN!


water fluid and knee diagram
So where does this “Water on my Knee Located” ?

At some point in our lives, we will all experience this often crippling ailment. The severity of the affectation will vary from one individual to another.

The truth is that our joints undergo a significant amount of stress during our lifetimes. Our knee and ankle joints are especially susceptible to these types of debilitating and eroding factors.

The knee which can be replaced, which is made up of two separate joints, is the most extensive articulation found within the human body. The knee joins the thigh with the lower leg and permits the contraction and extension motions required for movement.


Diagnosis Asessment for Water on Knee

When in your home

Some minor swelling of the knee due to an recent injury and/or a previously diagnosed condition may not require medical attention. You can do this yourself to self-diagnose:

This is the  R.I.C.E Approach.

  1. Resting in Bed. Let the body heal itself its the best way. Take weight of your knee
  2. Ice Pack. Simply use a towel or even plastic bag and place carefully on your the knee for 25 minutes minimum. You can repeat this 3-4 Hours.
  3. Elevate your leg. Your Knee should be above your waist when sitting or reclining. Use a back support such a cushions or pillows as you see fit.
  4. A Last resort. Medication. Any product with paracetamol with do.


The particular action of the human gait places constant pressure on the knee joint, and this makes it highly vulnerable. Even the simple act of standing up from a sitting position will, over time, wear down the joint. Once this process begins to occur, patients start to experience debilitating pain which is often accompanied by a restriction in movement.

There are many known, probable causes for knee joint pain; anything from acute injuries of the ligaments to complications of underlying medical conditions such as arthritis can be to blame. Common symptoms of injured knee joints are severe pain, limited range of motion, tenderness, weakness, and swelling of the surrounding tissues. For specific issues with knee joint pain after running.




draining fluid from knee

So we have all heard of the term “Water on the Knee” but lets find out what this benign term actually means…

To facilitate movement of the joint and reduce friction between the cartilages, the body produces a viscous fluid called synovia. Synovial fluid is found inside the cavities of the joint and its presence is a sign of healthy joint function. Specific medical conditions such as arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, or injury to the meniscus, can all lead to the rapid accumulation of synovial fluid in and around the joint. When an excess of synovial fluid builds up past a certain point, it will begin to adversely affect the health of the joint and cause it to swell disproportionately. This excess swelling, or fluid effusion, is colloquially known as water on the knee.


Synovial fluid can be used for diagnostic purposes. The exact symptoms of knee fluid effusion will depend on the medical cause of the accumulation. Identification of specific properties such as density, color, viscosity, and white blood cell count, can help a medical doctor determine the presence of injury or other medical conditions.


Knee fluid effusion can be the cause of high discomfort, both physical and psychological. Pain can vary from mild to severe, with some rare patients reporting no pain whatsoever. Frequently, placing any weight on the affected knee will cause significant discomfort and difficulty with mobility will be present. The proliferation of synovial fluid under the patella will usually cause considerable stiffness. This process can have a substantial and far-reaching impact on your daily life, and so it is crucial that we study ways in which to alleviate its effect.


Removing fluid from knee



Naturally, since knee effusion can have such varied origins, one of the first things medical care providers must do is to attempt to identify the cause. Take it easy for at least a couple of days after you drain the fluid from your knee.

Ultrasonic or radio imaging will regularly be used to assess the situation better. Magnetic resonance imaging can also be used if the suspected reason lies in a damaged ligament or tendon. Laboratory tests such as the C-reactive protein blood exam can be performed if the infection is thought to be the cause of the swelling.


Once a clearer picture of the underlying source of the knee effusion has been identified, the most common course is prescription of some form of analgesic and steroidal treatment.

Unfortunately, these steroidal therapies often have secondary effects that can adversely affect the general health of patients. Some reported side effects of steroid therapy include elevated high blood pressure, increased risk for infection, and even osteoporosis.



Some studies have also suggested that steroid therapy is no better than a placebo for alleviating knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis.



To drain fluid from the knee naturally, there are a few methods that have shown excellent results. The most common way is called the I.C.E approach. ICE stands for Ice, Compression, and Elevation.

As we all know, cold temperatures are effective in minimizing swelling and inflammation. Most of the time, giving the affected joint some rest, applying a cold compress is enough to significantly reduce related effusion swelling. Elevating the leg will also greatly help to drain the liquid away from the affected area. When lifting the affected limb make sure to use a comfortable pillow under the knee and a larger pillow under your ankle to create the proper angle:

Removing Fluid From Knee. Simple Steps to think about

  • A light and gentle massage can also be used to gradually drain fluid from your knee.
  • Light pressure applied in a circular motion can help the connective tissue underneath the synovial fluid to realign.
  • A course of physical therapy exercises can also provide a similar effect. Another course of action that has shown great promise in alleviating the inflammation associated with knee diffusion is dietary glucosamine supplementation.
  • A study out of the Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences has suggested that a home remedy salve made out of cinnamon, ginger, and sesame oil, can have an impactful and effective action on arthritic patients.
  • Arnica ointments, when applied liberally over the swollen joint, can help to alleviate inflammation. A warm bath or hot water-bag over the joint can temporarily ease symptoms.

When fluid accumulates in the knee joint due to traumatic injury or through the trauma of surgery, it is often necessary to aspirate. Synovial fluid aspiration, also known as arthrocentesis, is performed by a doctor or physician’s assistant and involves the insertion of a surgical needle into the knee joint cavity. Arthrocentesis is quick and relatively simple. Usually, repeated aspirations will be necessary until the underlying cause of the effusion is identified and treated successfully.



Draining fluid from your knee and the recovery time will depend on the chosen treatment and underlying cause of the fluid accumulation. Physical activity should be avoided at all costs for at least a few days after each aspiration session. The discomfort associated with knee effusion is often not eliminated even after a full aspiration and doctors will often prescribe mild analgesics to help patients deal with pain.



Because of the detrimental and debilitating effect that knee synovial fluid accumulation can have on a patient’s life, it is essential to do everything possible to avoid it in the first place. Caution is always recommended when practicing any brusque physical activity. Weight management is also a valid preventative technique as excess weight puts an unnecessary strain upon the joints of the body.

It is also important to listen to your body’s signals and warnings. If you feel pain or discomfort on the knee joint, stop whatever it is you are doing and give your body a chance to rest. Doing this will significantly reduce the risk of suffering any eventual pain, stiffness, and swelling.


Thank you

Dr. Alberto



  • Schweitzer, Mark E., et al. “Knee effusion: normal distribution of fluid.” American journal of roentgenology 159.2 (1992): 361-363.
  • Zahmatkash, Mohsen, and Mohammad Reza Vafaeenasab. “Comparing analgesic effects of a topical herbal mixed medicine with salicylate in patients with knee osteoarthritis.” Pakistan journal of biological sciences: PJBS13 (2011): 715-719.
  • Caughey, D. E., and E. G. L. Bywaters. “Joint fluid pressure in chronic knee effusions.” Annals of the rheumatic diseases2 (1963): 106.
  • Lohmander, L. Stefan, et al. “Increased levels of proteoglycan fragments in knee joint fluid after injury.” Arthritis & Rheumatology11 (1989): 1434-1442.
  • Hartz, Arthur J., et al. “The association of obesity with joint pain and osteoarthritis in the HANES data.” Journal of chronic diseases4 (1986): 311-319.
  • Radin, Eric L., et al. “Relationship between lower limb dynamics and knee joint pain.” Journal of orthopaedic research3 (1991): 398-405.
  • Schaible, Hans-Georg, and Blair D. Grubb. “Afferent and spinal mechanisms of joint pain.” Pain1 (1993): 5-54.
  • Ansell, Barbara M., et al. “Evaluation of intra-articular colloidal gold Au 198 in the treatment of persistent knee effusions.” Annals of the rheumatic diseases6 (1963): 435.




  1. Thank you so much for the great article, I am suffering from arthritis. It was fluent and to the point. Cheers.

  2. Thank you so much for the great article, it was fluent and to the point. I have also asked my doctor about this procedure.

  3. First of all, I thank you for your great article. My English is not good. Helped me remove knee pain. You point out an excellent problem with water on knee and informative tutorial, also to get a plenty of information to removing my knee pain with natural way. please keep it up, it would be better help for such patient. Thanks for sharing.

  4. My right knee has been swollen for 4 days with the pain leading up to it starting approximately about 4 days before. I have always worked on my feet, I am 63 yo. I have done the rice formula for the past 5 days to no avail, and have always had small pain issues with my knees thinking it was because I was on my feet all the time. I did have a very substantial water skiing accident approximately 20 years ago, but my knee has NEVER swollen up like this , and stayed that way for so long any suggestions?

    1. Our Ice approach should have worked for you, so there must be a more underlying problem. Yes, perhaps the skiiing accident from 20 years ago. I suggest you see your local GP.

      Thank you for letting us know Stephanie.

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