Treatment of leg edema with arthritis

Joints with arthritis (especially rheumatoid) swell quite often. In some patients, swelling occurs sporadically, in others it is chronic.

The main causes of swelling and swelling of the joints:

  1. Inflammatory processes in the articular tissues. With inflammation, there is an increased permeability of capillaries – blood accumulates around the pathological focus, forming edema.
  2. Autoimmune reactions (including due to a long-lasting inflammatory process). The mechanism is approximately the same as that of the inflammatory process. But autoimmune edema is usually more difficult and more difficult to treat.
  3. Response to ongoing anti-arthritis therapy. Often, hormonal drugs are used to treat arthritis, one of the s >

Swelling of the legs with arthritis

  • the use of a large amount of salt for patients – in this case, swelling occurs due to fluid retention, it is simple enough to follow a primitive salt-free diet and the problem will be solved;
  • a complication of autoimmune arthritis with kidney damage – if inflammation of the kidneys (nephritis) occurs against the background of arthritis, then the development of edema, but only of the lower extremities;
  • heart complications – the mechanism is the same as in the case of the kidneys, but not only the lower extremities can swell;
  • a predisposing factor may be the presence of even minimal manifestations of varicose veins of the lower extremities against the background of arthritis.
Shishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologistShishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologist, project editor-in-chief ExpertNews.

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1.1 How often do joints swell with arthritis?

Patients with various types of arthritis often complain that they have a swollen joint or swollen limbs (usually legs). This complication of arthritis is observed very often, in about 80-90% of all patients (including those with acute arthritis).

The more severe the disease, the higher the likelihood of such complications. The form (type) of arthritis also affects the likelihood of developing such a problem. If it is a rheumatoid form, then it is almost impossible to avoid swelling or tumors.

The same goes for autoimmune and some infectious forms of the disease. With the psoriatic form of arthritis, swelling is less common, as well as with reactive forms of the disease against the background of infectious pathology.

Also, the probability of developing such complications is influenced by the ongoing therapy. If it is aggressive, with the use of hormonal and / or steroid drugs, edema is observed in almost all patients.

Finger swelling with arthritis

Even drugs that are designed to eliminate puffiness, with a low degree of probability, can give such a side effect. Predisposing factors are also obesity, unbalanced nutrition and atopy in the patient.

Moreover, statistically in adult patients (especially elderly), these problems are much more common than in children and adolescents.
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1.2 What swells most often?

Swelling and swelling due to arthritis can develop on any joints, but this pathology has its own “preferences”. Most often, it affects large joints: knee, foot, femoral and shoulder. Finger damage is less commonly observed, and if it is, the thumb usually suffers.

It is noted that those joints that most often involve the patient are most swollen. For example, writers and office workers (who type on the keyboard) often experience swelling of their fingers. In mobile people who walk several kilometers daily, joints of the lower extremities most often suffer.

In some patients, the development of the affected joint leads to the elimination of edema, and in others to their appearance or exacerbation. It is because of this chaotic course of arthritis that therapy is always selected individually for the patient.

In descending order, the joints of the following segments are most often affected:

  • lower limbs (feet, hip, knees);
  • shoulder and elbow joints;
  • lumbar and carpal joints of the fingers.

Most patients are shown rest for the area of ​​the body where swelling is observed. If peace does not give tangible results within 2-3 weeks, in the form of empirical treatment, you can try moderate gymnastics.
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1.3 Treatment of arthrosis and arthritis (video)

1.4 How is this manifested and what symptoms can accompany edema?

Swelling and swelling of the joints with arthritis is dangerous because it is supplemented by a whole range of other symptoms that seriously impair the patient’s performance.

In almost all patients, reddening of the skin over the affected joint is observed. The skin itself is hot to the touch (local hyperthermia phenomena), moderate itching is possible.

The edematous joint is partially immobilized (motionless), and in severe cases, complete immobilization is observed. He quickly gets tired even from easy work (a couple of hundred steps – and the knee joints already “refuse to work”).

Very often painful sensations of various intensities are observed. They can be either moderate or moderate, or very severe, requiring constant analgesic therapy. Moreover, oral agents do not always help, sometimes injecting intra-articular administration of the drug is required.

Knee swelling with arthritis

All of the symptoms described can be significantly enhanced when a patient takes a hot shower or bath (except for stiffness in movements – it can temporarily weaken). Hot water (or even steam) expands small vessels (capillaries), due to which inflammatory processes only intensify. That is why it is impossible to visit a bathhouse for arthritis if swelling occurs, otherwise the problem can be exacerbated.
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2 How to relieve swelling with arthritis: a list of ways

What to do if joints have swollen (swollen) with arthritis? How to remove the swelling and symptoms in the form of pain or stiffness in the movements? One universal technique does not exist: a scheme of several procedures is used.

The following procedures are effective in this regard:

  1. Injection drug treatment. Intra-articular administration of painkillers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs is used. Perhaps the introduction of steroid drugs, hormones, in rare cases, use chondroprotectors.
  2. Oral and application drug treatment. Oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Nise, Diclofenac), painkillers (Ketanov) are used. Ointments of these drug groups are also used.
  3. Physiotherapeutic treatment. This includes exposure to cold, laser treatment, mud baths, solar therapy, acupuncture, and leech therapy. High efficiency of physiotherapy is achieved only if it is carried out against the background of drug therapy.

But the use of folk treatment methods (herbs, tinctures, balms) is practically ineffective and sometimes even harmful. Various “steaming” and “cauterization” of the affected joints are especially dangerous. Unconventional methods of therapy cannot be used without prior consultation with the attending physician.

Arthritis of the foot – causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment methods and prophylaxis

The complex anatomical structure of the human foot determines the functionality of this organ. The foot consists of a large number of small bones and joints. Every day they have to withstand a tremendous load. Feet instantly react to a change in body position in space when walking, running, dancing, playing sports. Arthritis of the foot occurs in people of different ages, pathological changes in the joints occur, their unnatural deformation (examples in the photo), pain symptoms appear. The disease must be treated in a timely manner.

What is foot arthritis?

In humans, the foot consists of small bones: rounded tarsus, long tubular metatarsus and short tubular phalanx of the fingers. All these bone systems have a movable joint to simultaneously provide coordinated movements, cushioning, and reliable support. The vaulted shape of the foot is associated with the vertical position of the human body in space and upright posture.

Inflammation of the joints of the foot and mobile joints of bones in other parts of the body is called arthritis. In this disease, the inflammatory process spreads in the synovial membrane of the joint – the inner layer of the joint bag. The inflamed inner surface releases a large amount of synovial fluid, this is due to swelling of the joint. Inflammation captures ligaments, muscles. The articular cartilage is weakening. The disease affects the tarsus, metatarsus, fingers.


There are many factors that provoke inflammatory processes in the small joints of the leg. The most common causes of inflammation of the joints of the foot are:

  1. Injuries. Fractures, dislocations, bruises of the foot are associated with a violation of the integrity of the joints, they provoke a risk of inflammation. Inconvenient, improperly selected shoes are a constant trauma to the foot. Physical exertion has the same effect during prolonged sports training, dance rehearsals.
  2. Infections Pathogens of intestinal diseases, pneumonia, acute forms of tonsillitis, sexually transmitted diseases (gonorrhea, syphilis) that have entered the body have a destructive effect on the joints.
  3. Autoimmune inflammation. The body triggers an immune defense against inflammation of the cartilage, which it perceives as pathogenic.
  4. Specific. Manifest individually against the background of existing diseases. For example, salt deposition occurs in joints during psoriasis.
  5. Genetic predisposition.

A number of factors influence the onset of a disease indirectly. Inflammation of the joints of the foot provokes:

  • metabolic disease;
  • weak immunity,
  • bad habits;
  • overweight;
  • age changes.


A disease can affect one or more joints. Arthritis of the legs of different species in the early stages has similar symptoms. Typical general symptoms of the disease include:

  • Severe pain. As the inflammation intensifies, the pain becomes intolerable. Sharp pain sensations occur in the morning or at night, do not stop even at rest.
  • Swelling, redness of the skin in the area of ​​the inflamed joint is noted. At the stage of remission, the symptoms of foot arthritis disappear. If untreated, the inflammation returns and appears in a stronger form.
  • Fever in inflamed areas.
  • Dysfunction of the affected areas. There is a feeling of stiffness, restriction of movement, especially after rest. With the onset of movement, these manifestations disappear. With a progressive process and the absence of treatment, periods of stiffness become longer and then permanent.
  • Inflamed joints are deformed. Fingers twist, bumps, growths appear. The form of deformation depends on the type of pathology.
  • There is a change in gait.

Types and stages of the disease

Diagnose several types of osteoarthritis of the foot. It depends on the reasons that provoked the disease:

  1. Gouty arthritis of the foot affects the thumb, occurs against the background of gout. At the junction of the bones of the first finger and metatarsus (metatarsophalangeal joint), a characteristic bump develops. The disease is accompanied by frequent relapses.
  2. Rheumato >

The development of arthritis on the foot occurs gradually. The disease goes through successive stages:

  1. Active inflammation.
  2. Remission (temporary disappearance of the symptoms of the disease, characterized by a relief of the patient’s condition)
  3. Relapse (or exacerbation, the resumption of the disease after apparent recovery).


The conclusion of one doctor is not enough to diagnose foot arthritis. The patient should contact several specialists at once:

Treatment is prescribed taking into account the cause, type and stage of the disease. Therapy is complicated if chronic inflammation is diagnosed. At the first appearance of edema in the area of ​​the joints of the foot, redness of the skin, an increase in temperature over painful fingers, you need to seek the help of a therapist. It gives direction to a series of studies that will help determine the condition of the joints:

  • Ultrasound;
  • radiography;
  • MRI (and CT, if necessary, to clarify the diagnosis);
  • biochemical blood test for C-reactive protein, for the determination of rheumatoid factor, uric acid, glucose concentration;
  • puncture for the study of the composition of the joint fluid.

Foot Arthritis Treatment

The goal of therapeutic measures for foot arthritis is to eliminate the cause of the disease, relieve inflammation, and alleviate the condition of a patient who is experiencing severe pain. After stopping the inflammation, the doctor prescribes maintenance treatment. It includes physiotherapy, recipes of traditional medicine. In the initial stages of the disease, arch support, orthopedic shoes effectively help.

How to treat foot arthritis at home

For effective treatment of arthritis, a set of measures can be applied even at home. These are medicines, diet food, herbal medicine, baths, rubbing, compresses, heating. The choice depends on the stage of the disease. For example, in the acute period of the disease, warming procedures are contraindicated. In the treatment of foot arthritis, some medicinal plants give a therapeutic effect:

  • Burdock leaves. Fresh torn sheet is applied with its underside to the inflamed area, fixed with a bandage, put on a sock. Such a herbal compress can be done at night, in the morning the procedure is repeated with a new sheet. The healing parts of the plant can be dried and prepared for the winter. Soak them in water before use.
  • Decoctions of linden blossom, St. John’s wort, chamomile or their collection. Pour boiling water over 1 tablespoon of medicinal raw materials, leave for 10 minutes, strain and drink in small portions throughout the day.
  • Freshly squeezed cabbage and carrot juice in equal parts. Drink a glass of juice in small portions throughout the day.

Warm baths relieve pain in chronic arthritis. Iodized or sea salt, decoctions of celandine, chamomile, oak bark, young pine needles can be added to water. You can make baths with mustard powder at the rate of 1 tablespoon per 1 liter of water, it should be at a comfortable temperature. Feet should be kept in water for about half an hour, adding hot water as it cools.

The therapeutic effect is obtained by rubbing with the use of alcohol tinctures of medicinal herbs. The procedures are done in courses of 7-10 days. Tinctures can be prepared independently from the roots of burdock, dandelion, elecampane. To do this, take a glass of raw materials and 0,5 liters of alcohol, insist 2 weeks in a glass bowl. For the same purpose, it is good to use propolis pharmacy tincture, fir or camphor oil. Apply warming compresses at night and warming your feet with hot sand or salt.

Edema with rheumato >Rheumatoid arthritis is a serious and dangerous disease that is more common in women and in people over 50, but there are also cases of the disease at a younger age. With this disease, the patient is disturbed by severe edema and other unpleasant symptoms that interfere with normal life and hamper movement.

A rheumatologist is involved in the diagnosis and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. At the reception, he examines the patient and prescribes the necessary tests, according to the results of which he prescribes the necessary drugs in a particular case. It is important to note that a complete cure for rheumatoid arthritis does not occur, but with the right treatment you can achieve stable remission and improve the patient’s life for years, but edema often remains a companion for life.


Joint swelling is a swelling that forms due to inflammation of the soft tissues around them. In arthritis, the cartilage tissue is destroyed and ossified, muscles and ligaments are deformed, blood circulation is disturbed and joint swelling occurs. Often, swelling persists even during remission and worries the patient for a long time, especially in the hot season.

Edema that can disturb a patient with rheumatoid arthritis often appears for other indirect reasons:

  • the use of salt in large quantities;
  • swelling of the legs appears with kidney disease;
  • concomitant heart disease;
  • joint swelling may increase after taking hormones;
  • allergic reactions of a different nature;
  • phlebeurysm.

To find out the exact reason why swelling of the joint and other tissues appears, you need to go through an examination of the therapist and pass the necessary tests. If problems are found with internal organs, such as the kidneys and heart, the doctor will prescribe appropriate treatment aimed at eliminating the cause of accumulation of excess fluid in the tissues of the body.


Complex treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, which is prescribed by the doctor, will help to remove joint swelling. These include various basic drugs, for example, immunosuppressants and gold preparations, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, for example, Ibuprofen and Diclofenac. Also, at the discretion of the doctor, hormonal drugs and diuretics can be prescribed.

Physiotherapy also helps treat edema, they accelerate the healing of tissues, their recovery. With rheumatoid arthritis, shock wave therapy, magnetotherapy, electrophoresis are especially effective. All these techniques can improve the patient’s condition and relieve swelling of the joints, thus normalizing blood circulation in muscle tissue.

The people’s

Traditional medicine recipes will help reduce edema at home. To alleviate the condition, you can make compresses and lotions on a sore spot or drink decoctions with a diuretic and anti-inflammatory effect. Before using the following funds, a specialist consultation is necessary, since not all herbs interact well with medicines and can cause harm.

Infusions for oral administration:

  • It is necessary to take in equal proportions the leaves of plantain, nettle and bearberry, as well as rose hips and St. John’s wort. Pour a tablespoon of the collection with 0,5 l of boiling water and cook for 5-7 minutes, then wrap in a towel and insist until it cools completely. You need to drink the infusion 3 times a day, 150 ml each, strain before use. Such a decoction relieves swelling and stops the inflammatory process in the tissues of the body.
  • Cowberry or cranberry juice has a mild diuretic effect, therefore it relieves swelling well. For cooking, you need a fresh berry, which is well washed, frayed through a sieve or in a blender and covered with sugar. From the resulting gruel, you can prepare fruit drink and drink it instead of tea.
  • From lingonberry leaf, you can also prepare a diuretic decoction. For this, 1 tbsp. dried cowberry leaves must be steamed in a glass of boiling water and insisted until cool under a closed lid. Drink strained broth in the throat all day long.
  • An infusion of parsley root and greens relieves swelling perfectly, for cooking you need to pour 20 grams of dried herb in a glass of boiling water. Drink strained broth 3 times a day before meals, half a glass.
  • A warming compress will help relieve swelling and inflammation. You need to mix 500 gr. vodka, 200 gr. salt and 100 gr. mustard powder. Soak a piece of cotton cloth with the resulting liquid and apply to the swollen joint for 2 hours. To achieve a lasting effect, you need to repeat the procedure for 4-6 weeks daily.
  • 250 gr red wine to be mixed with 2 tbsp. mustard powder. Make compresses on sore joints, keep no longer than 15 minutes at a time.
  • 1/3 tsp required camphor dissolved in 500 ml of turpentine, then add 500 ml of olive oil and 500 ml of alcohol 96 °. Before use, the ointment needs to be mixed well. Apply it overnight on the affected area with massage rubbing movements until the ointment hardens. Then you need to wrap the sore spot with a woolen shawl and leave it overnight.
  • The following ointment helps to remove joint swelling and relieve inflammation. You need to mix 100 gr. mustard powder, 200 g of salt, and paraffin so much that a cream is obtained. Before use, it is necessary that the ointment is infused in a warm place for 12 hours. To relieve swelling of the joint, you need to rub the affected area with ointment at night and bandage it.

Any treatment aimed at eliminating the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis should be combined with a proper lifestyle. You need to eat balanced, stop drinking alcohol and tobacco, then the recovery process will be faster. Alcohol is often the cause of edema, in addition, it can provoke a new exacerbation of the disease.

Swelling of the joints of the legs – causes and effective treatment

Swelling of the joints of the legs is a very common problem, especially among women. A similar symptom often indicates the development of various joint diseases, so treatment can only be prescribed after establishing the exact cause of the ailment. Any swelling in the joint area requires close attention. In addition to the unattractive appearance and problems when wearing shoes, a swollen joint causes pain and movement problems.

Why leg joints swell – the most common causes

A swollen joint is always an alarm that needs to be listened to. Edema can appear in the joints, both on the arms and legs, at any age, although older people are much more likely to suffer from the disease. At the same time, a person experiences inconvenience when walking and stiffness of movements in the area of ​​the affected joint.

The causes of edema can be divided into two groups:

  • mechanical injury;
  • internal diseases.

Quite often, the joints swell as a result of damage: a fracture, dislocation or contusion. In this case, after healing, edema quickly decreases, joint function is restored.

If swelling in the articulation occurs against the background of the disease, then the degree and dynamics of its severity depend on the development of the underlying pathology. Therefore, it is necessary to consider in more detail why the legs swell and hurt.


Joint inflammation, called arthritis, occurs as a result of infectious diseases (tuberculosis), metabolic disorders (gout), injuries, or autoimmune pathology.

Arthritis is one of the causes of knee edema.

Forms of arthritis may be as follows:

The disease can affect one joint or cover several joints (polyarthritis).

Acute arthritis is characterized by intense pain and swelling in the affected joints, redness of the skin and an increase in body temperature over the joint. Such an inflammatory process can quickly destroy cartilage and lead to a pronounced restriction of movement in the joint. Acute arthritis usually affects the knee and ankle joint.

In the chronic course of the disease, pain and swelling are not so pronounced. They occur periodically under the influence of adverse factors (hypothermia, development or exacerbation of concomitant pathology, excessive load on the affected joint).

The rheumatoid form of the disease is most severe. Small joints of the arms and legs usually suffer from it, which swell and constantly ache.

Without treatment, rheumatoid arthritis can lead to severe deformation of the fingers and a complete or partial loss of mobility in them.

This disease is a consequence of a violation of the metabolism of uric acid and an increase in the body’s concentration of its compounds. Gout is characterized by severe swelling of the tissues, the appearance of tofuses in the area of ​​the hands, foot (big toe), knee or elbow joint.

During the period of exacerbation, severe pain occurs. Gradually, liquefaction of the contents of tofus occurs, which is excreted through the fistula.

With a prolonged course of gout, inflammatory processes often occur in adjacent articular bags (bursitis) or the inner shells of muscle tendons (tendovaginitis).


The main cause of arthrosis is degenerative-dystrophic changes in the cartilage and other structural elements of the joint. Swelling occurs as a result of excessive production of synovial fluid and its partial leakage from the periarticular bag. The joint is often deformed.

Arthrosis usually affects large joints of the legs (knee, hip) and is the cause of their swelling.


Such a pathology as bursitis occurs as a result of inflammation of the periarticular bags and is localized most often in the knee, femoral and ankle joints.

The cause of bursitis can be injuries, repeated mechanical influences, allergic reactions or infectious diseases.

Edema in this disease is caused by the accumulation of synovial fluid and is manifested by severe pain, reddening of the tissues over the joint. The skin in the area of ​​pathology becomes hot to the touch.


Fractures, dislocations, sprains and bruises are quite common causes of swelling of the joints of the legs. For example, a tumor quickly occurs even with a slight dislocation of the foot or sprain in the ankle.

In fractures, extensive edema develops with the capture of nearby tissues. Gradually decreasing, it persists for some time after bone fusion. In fractures, in addition to severe swelling, the patient is concerned about intense pain, the formation of a hematoma and a significant limitation of mobility.

Often the cause of edema is venous insufficiency, which develops with venous thrombosis of the lower extremities. With vascular insufficiency, the legs swell usually in the evening, against the background of fatigue. The process is accompanied by heaviness and pain in the legs, a change in the color of the skin. Veins become pronounced.

What to do if the joints of the legs are swollen – treatment methods

How to treat swelling? The fight against puffiness begins with an accurate diagnosis. After a full examination, the specialist prescribes adequate treatment, in accordance with the individual characteristics of the patient.

In modern medicine, an integrated approach to therapy is widely used, which includes the following methods:

  1. Medicines
  2. Physiotherapeutic procedures.
  3. Physiotherapy.

Before visiting a doctor, swelling can be reduced with cold compresses, foot baths, as well as using ointments with a cooling effect. However, self-medication cannot be practiced for a long time.

Medication Therapy

Since there are many diseases that cause swelling of the legs, treatment should not be limited to the use of drugs of the same group. In the fight against puffiness, it is recommended to use the following means:

    Diuretics – Diacarb, Furosem >Some joint ailments suggest the appointment of antibacterial, glucocorticosteroid and antitumor drugs.

In folk medicine, it is believed that iodotherapy helps with gout. To prepare the medicine, iodine and aspirin are mixed. Ready solution lubricate the affected areas.


Physiotherapeutic procedures have a very good effect on swollen legs. Improving microcirculation, activating the metabolism in the affected tissues and normalizing vascular tone, the procedures quickly defeat edema and eliminate the accompanying inflammatory symptoms.

The following physiotherapeutic procedures are especially effective for swelling of the legs:

To achieve the best effect, conservative methods add therapeutic gymnastics, manual exposure and diet.

Massage and exercise therapy

Specially selected sets of exercises for physiotherapy exercises play an important role in the treatment of injuries and joint diseases. Exercise helps improve blood circulation and metabolism in the joints of the legs and surrounding tissues. You need to do them regularly, gradually increasing the load.

No less effective massage of the lower extremities. The procedure speeds up blood flow, improves lymph circulation, eliminates swelling and pain in the legs.

How to keep your legs healthy – prevention of edema

To reduce swelling and eliminate the accompanying symptoms (pain and heaviness in the legs), you need to adhere to the following simple recommendations:

    Avo >If the joints on the legs are swollen, rest with raised legs will help

These simple rules will help reduce swelling and alleviate the condition of the patient. However, one should not try to defeat the disease only with their help. When the first signs of swelling of the joints appear, consult a specialist.

Swelling of the joints of the legs is not an independent disease, but only one of the symptoms of a developed ailment. Therefore, the sooner the root cause of the ailment is established and the appropriate treatment is prescribed, the faster the recovery.

Morozov Georgiy

Georgy Morozov, rheumatologist. For more than 20 years, he has been involved in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of joint diseases.