Exercises to Reduce Water on the Knee

Water on the knee can be caused by repetitive exercise, such as running.
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If you've got swelling in your knee, it can cause stiffness and limit your ability to move. Exercises for water on the knee won't fix the underlying problem, but they can improve your mobility.


Causes of Knee Swelling

Knee swelling, or effusion, can be caused by a variety of conditions. According to an article published in the May 2019 issue of the journal Pain Research and Management, it is the most common symptom of knee arthritis. You might also experience knee swelling right after an injury to your joint.

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To prevent worsening of your condition, see your doctor for a diagnosis of the cause of your swelling before attempting exercises for fluid on the knee. Another option is to seek physiotherapy treatment for knee effusion.


Read more: 5 Exercises to Help Manage the Pain of Knee Osteoarthritis

Exercises for Water on the Knee

Range-of-motion exercises and gentle strengthening can improve your function, according to Kaiser Permanente. Exercises should not increase your knee pain — or your swelling. If either of these occur, stop exercising and contact your doctor, advises the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.


Move 1: Seated Chair Slides

  1. Sit in a chair with your feet on the floor.
  2. Cross your ankles, with the unaffected leg on top.
  3. Bend your affected knee as far as you comfortably can.
  4. Use your opposite leg to gently bend your knee a bit farther.
  5. Stop when you feel a stretch along the front of your knee.
  6. Hold for three to five seconds; then relax.
  7. Repeat 10 times.


Move 2: Towel-Assisted Heel Slides

  1. Lie on your back with your legs straight.
  2. Loop a towel under your thigh on the affected side.
  3. With one end of the towel in each hand, bend your knee.
  4. Gently pull the towel to increase the amount of bend in your knee.
  5. Hold this position for two to three seconds. Then slide your leg out straight.
  6. Repeat 10 times.

Move 3: Prone Extension Stretch


  1. Lie on your stomach with a rolled towel under your thigh on the affected side.
  2. Position yourself to allow your foot to hang over the edge of the surface you are lying on.
  3. Relax and allow gravity to stretch your knee into a straight position.
  4. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat three times.
  5. Increase the amount of stretch by placing a small cuff weight (less than 5 pounds) around your ankle during this stretch.


Move 4: Quad Sets


  1. Lie on your back with your affected leg out straight.
  2. Bend the opposite knee and place your foot on the floor.
  3. Place a small rolled towel under your knee.
  4. Tighten your thigh muscles by pressing your knee down into the towel.
  5. Hold for two to three seconds and then relax.
  6. Repeat 10 times, working up to three sets in a row.
  7. Increase the intensity of this exercise by placing the towel under your ankle instead of your knee.

Read more: Knee Pain on the Outside of the Knee


Move 5: Standing Hamstring Curls

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Bend your affected knee, bringing your heel as close as possible to your buttocks.
  3. Hold for two to three seconds; then relax.
  4. Perform 10 repetitions and work up to three sets in a row.
  5. Increase the difficulty of this exercise by wearing an ankle weight.




Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.

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