Knee Swelling Of Or Pain In

Sources: Papers On Health

For ordinary slight injuries, complete

rest, and rubbing with spirit lotion, should be sufficient. But where

there is previous weakness, or constitutional tendency, even slight

pain and stiffness, caused by wet or some blow or wrench, the joint

must be treated thoroughly. Careless and wrong treatment may be given,

and result in severe lameness. We wish, however, to point out that the

treatment here recommended has cured many cases where this lameness

appeared hopeless, and even restored walking power in limbs which had

been ordered to be amputated by surgeons.

In the early stages of the trouble, it should be easy to cure in five

or six days. First apply the SOAPY BLANKET (see) at bedtime. Then,

about eleven o'clock in the fore-noon, place the leg so that the knee

is over a small tub or bath full of very hot water, as hot as can be

borne without pain. Pour this over the knee with a sponge or large soft

cloth for an hour, adding hot water as it cools. If the patient becomes

sick or faint, discontinue the bathing for a time. Dry the limb, rub

with olive oil, and dry again gently. At five in the afternoon repeat

the treatment of the knee. At bedtime sponge all over with hot vinegar,

rub with hot olive oil, and put to bed. If the joint has been

stiffened, gentle efforts to move it may be made during the treatment.

Sometimes during this treatment boils will break out over the knee and

discharge a good deal, but as soon as their work in removing disease is

done, these will heal up. Generally, however, this will not occur. The

diet may be such as we recommend in cases of ABSCESS (see).

In bad cases, the treatment may be continued for weeks before much

favourable change is noted. Patience and perseverance, however, will

win the day. The soapy blanket should not be given oftener than three

times a week, and a rest from all treatment on the Sabbath is best.

See also Housemaid's Knee.

Often in cases of knee pain and trouble, when local applications have

little power, a BRAN POULTICE (see) on the lower back will effect a

speedy cure. Sensible people will, of course, study and apply fresh

treatment in such cases. Where the knee, for instance, is in the hot

stage of inflammation, hot applications will be injurious. In such a

case, cold cloths on the knee, with bran poultice on the lower back,

will be the proper treatment. Try heat first, and if it is hurtful,

vary the treatment to cold and heat, continued as above.

Here, again, is a knee which gives its owner excruciating pain, and

shows only a little swelling and no sign of diseased matter whatever.

The hot fomentation and cold towels have both been tried, but there are

now and again symptoms that show us that the root of the evil has not

been reached. We try cold cloths on this knee, but they greatly

increase the pain. We at length suspect that it is not the knee that is

seriously diseased, but the root of one or more of the nerves that

supply the link from the lower part of the spine. By this time the pain

has returned into the knee dreadfully, and everything has failed. But

very soon after a large, thick towel, folded and wrung out of cold

water, having plenty of mustard spread on it, is placed across the

haunches, relief is given in the most charming fashion. The cold cloth

absorbs superfluous heat, and superfluous vital action to a certain

extent, but the mustard draws it out so much more speedily and

powerfully that the deep-seated roots of the nerves are reached and

cooled down to their normal action. The pain ceases, and the poor

sufferer blesses the mustard. We are just describing what actually


Sometimes a prejudice arises against heat. If, for example, an inflamed

knee has been strongly heated during the hot stage of the trouble, the

pains and injury will have been greatly increased. But one way or other

that hot stage of the trouble has been got over, and now without heat

it is impossible to cure. The patient, however, and probably the nurse

waiting upon him, are decided against all hot appliances. These do so

much mischief that it is believed to be out of the question to try them

again. It may be that the prejudice is so strong that you simply can do

nothing; it may not be quite so invincible as that. If you are able to

point out that it was only because the heat was applied at a wrong

time, or in far too great strength, and that now, since the

inflammatory power is spent, heat will be sure to have a good effect,

if it is only carefully applied, the prejudice may be removed. We have

seen a patient in this stage, and with both knees bad, wrapped in a

large hot blanket fomentation from the ankles to above the knees; and

he was constrained to exclaim, "That's the right thing, beyond all

doubt." Then there is no more prejudice.

Sufferers should not be disappointed if for a week or two they are not

sensibly better. In some cases the effect is apparent in four or five

days, but generally a fortnight or three weeks pass without much

encouragement. We see great despondency sometimes just before all pain

disappears. Still, as a rule, the new health is seen in the cheek and

eye very soon. Where a violent inflammation is obviously proceeding

in the knee, the TURNIP POULTICE (see) is the best remedy. If there

be great heat in all the body, there will be little or no need for

heating any part; judgment must be used for each individual case in

these matters. While resting as much as possible, the patient will find

it best to lie on the back, with the sore knee supported a little

higher than the body. A gently applied bandaging of the whole limb is

also very beneficial, and may be used for all weak limbs, even when the

patient is walking about.

In the treatment of stiffened knees, even where accidental bending of

the joint gives very great pain, it is a grave mistake to put the knee

in splints to prevent bending. What is wanted is to encourage bending

as far as that can be done without much pain, so that the joint may not

permanently stiffen. Even where, by the use of splints, permanent

stiffness seems to have been brought on, the warm-water treatment

recommended above will bring about a loosening and softening of the

joint, which will permit first of a slight bending, and then, with

gentle encouragement, a complete flexibility. The complete

restoration of the limb should be the object kept in view. No case of a

stiffened joint, although it may be free from pain and disease, can be

regarded as satisfactory, and hence treatment should be persevered in

until all stiffness is gone. Common sense will direct as to hot and

cold applications, when to apply each, and how long to continue either;

the patient's comfortable feeling being the very best guide. We are

glad to know of very many apparently hopeless limbs saved by our

treatment, even where it has been imperfectly carried out.