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Byline: Dr Miriam Stoppard's health focus

What is it ?

The accumulation of fluid in a joint, causing swelling, limitation of movement, and usually pain and tenderness. A joint is enclosed by a capsule lined with a membrane called the synovium.

This membrane normally secretes small amounts of fluid to lubricate the joint, but if it's damaged or inflamed (e.g. arthritis), it produces excessive amounts of fluid.

Treatment Analgesic drugs (painkillers), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), injections of corticosteroid drugs help relieve pain and inflammation.

The swelling can be reduced by rest, firm wrapping with a bandage, ice packs and, when possible, keeping the affected joint raised. In some cases, the fluid may need to be aspirated (drawn out) with a hypodermic needle and then a syringe.

Antibiotics drugs may also be given if the cause is infective arthritis (also called septic arthritis). Afterwards, physiotherapy may be necessary to restore full movement.
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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion, Column
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 31, 2013
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