Main AHCA Website

AHCA’s main website for information on Medicaid, Health Quality Assurance and the Florida Center for Health Information and Policy Analysis.

Go >

Florida Health Information Network

This website provides information and resources relating to AHCA’s initiatives for Health Information Technology and Health Information Exchange.

Go >


FloridaHealthFinder.gov

Provides health education and information to compare and locate health care providers in Florida to make well-informed health care decisions.

Go >
AHCA Network of Websites

Health Education


Health Encyclopedia

Search the Health Encyclopedia

Joint swelling

Definition

Joint swelling is the buildup of fluid in the soft tissue surrounding the joint.

Alternative Names

Swelling of a joint

Considerations

Joint swelling may occur along with joint pain. The swelling may cause the joint to appear larger or abnormally shaped.

Joint swelling can cause pain or stiffness. After an injury, swelling of the joint may mean you have a broken bone or a tear in the muscle tendon or ligament.

Many different types of arthritis may cause swelling, redness, or warmth around the joint.

An infection in the joint can cause swelling, pain, and fever.

Causes

Joint swelling may be caused by different conditions, including:

Home Care

If joint swelling occurs after an injury, apply ice packs to reduce pain and swelling. Raise the swollen joint so that it is higher than your heart, if possible. For example, if your ankle is swollen, lay down with pillows comfortably placed under your foot so that your ankle and leg are slightly raised.

If you have arthritis, follow your health care provider's treatment plan.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider right away if you have joint pain and swelling with a fever.

Also call your health care provider if you have:

  • Unexplained joint swelling
  • Joint swelling after an injury

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

Your health care provider will examine you. The joint will be closely examined. You will be asked about your joint swelling, such as when it began, how long it has lasted, and whether you have it all the time or only at certain times. You may also be asked what you have tried at home to relieve the swelling.

Tests to diagnose the cause of joint swelling may include:

  • Blood tests
  • Joint x-rays
  • Joint aspiration and examination of joint fluid

Physical therapy for muscle and joint rehabilitation may be recommended.

References

Davis JM III, Moder KG, Hunder GG. History and physical examination of the musculoskeletal system. In: Firestein GS, Budd RC, Gabriel SE, et al., eds. Kelly's Textbook of Rheumatology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2012:chap 40.

Lane NE, Schnitzer TJ. Osteoarthritis. In: Goldman L, Shafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 270.

Review Date:8/17/2014
Reviewed By:Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997-A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

adam.com

The Agency for Health Care Administration (Agency) and this website do not claim the information on, or referred to by, this site is error free. This site may include links to websites of other government agencies or private groups. Our Agency and this website do not control such sites and are not responsible for their content. Reference to or links to any other group, product, service, or information does not mean our Agency or this website approves of that group, product, service, or information.

Additionally, while health information provided through this website may be a valuable resource for the public, it is not designed to offer medical advice. Talk with your doctor about medical care questions you may have.

Health
Outcome Data

No data available for this condition/procedure.

Read More

Health Encyclopedia

More Features

We Appreciate Your Feedback
1. Did you find this information useful?
         Yes
         No

2. Would you recommend this website to family and friends?
         Yes
         No