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Alternative Names Return to topSwelling of a joint
Definition Return to top
Joint swelling is the build up of fluid in the soft tissue surrounding the joint.
Considerations Return to top
Joint swelling may occur along with joint pain.
Causes Return to top
Joint swelling may be caused many different things, including:
Home Care Return to top
For unexplained soft tissue joint swelling, contact your health care provider. Follow prescribed therapy to treat the underlying cause.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if any of the following occurs:
What to Expect at Your Office Visit Return to top
Your health care provider will obtain your medical history and will perform a physical examination. The joint(s) will be closely examined. You will be asked questions about your joint swelling, such as:
Tests to diagnose the cause of joint swelling may include:
References Return to top
Moder KG, Hunder GG. History and physical examination of the musculoskeletal system. In: Harris ED, Budd RC, Genovese MC, Firestein GS, Sargent JS, Sledge CB, eds. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2005:chap 33.
Arend WP, Lawry GV. Approach to the patient with rheumatic disease. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 277.Update Date: 8/12/2008 Updated by: Linda Vorvick, MD, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.