How to Reduce Joint Swelling

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Things You'll Need

  • Joint wrap
  • Circulation stockings
Runner holding knee
Runner holding knee (Image: Maridav/iStock/Getty Images)

A swollen joint can be created by anything from a sports injury to rheumatoid arthritis, and the pain associated with it can be mild to excruciating. When it comes to reducing the swelling in your joints, several options are available, depending on the cause. It's always best to discuss treatments with your doctor beforehand to make sure it is in your best interests.

Step 1

Grab some ice. When it comes to an injury such as a sprained ankle or twisted ligament, it is a good idea to put a cold pack or ice wrap on it as soon as possible. When the joint swells because of injury, the body sends large amounts of blood to the area to promote healing, but it also causes swelling. The ice causes the blood vessels to constrict and limits the amount of blood to the area, reducing swelling.

Woman icing wrist
Woman icing wrist (Image: lofilolo/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 2

Get some rest. If you stand up for long periods, it can put a lot of stress on the joints, including the knees and ankles. This stress may cause fluid to build up around the joints and cause them to swell. It is best to lie down or sit to help reduce swelling. By lying down, you are giving gravity a chance to move that fluid out of the injured area.

Man resting on couch
Man resting on couch (Image: Ilka-Erika Szasz-Fabian/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 3

Take over-the-counter medications. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) like ibuprofen are common over-the-counter medications that help alleviate swelling. They block the enzyme that causes swelling in diseases such as bursitis and arthritis. NSAIDS can be available at prescription strength as well. Another common pain medication, acetaminophen, does not reduce swelling and should only be used for pain management and fever reduction.

Woman taking medication
Woman taking medication (Image: Fuse/Fuse/Getty Images)

Step 4

Use circulation hose and wraps. Swelling in the joints can also be caused by a reduction of blood flow through the body, causing areas of the hands, arms, feet and legs to become swollen. This is a common problem with diabetes patients. The doctor can provide and circulation hoses or wraps that tightly bind the swollen areas and promote blood flow. The wraps. in conjunction with massage, can be a useful treatment for extreme swelling.

Woman with wrapped arm
Woman with wrapped arm (Image: KonArt/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 5

Talk to your doctor. If over-the-counter medications and other methods do not work to reduce the swelling, contact your doctor for more powerful medications such as steroids and prescription NSAIDS. Steroids can be introduced by injection, cream, spray and pill and help relieve the fluid buildup around the joints. One of the most common uses for prescription medications is for the treatment of arthritis.

Man talking with doctor
Man talking with doctor (Image: Fuse/Fuse/Getty Images)

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