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How to Care for Common Knee Injuries

Author: Niki L. Carayannopoulos, DO

Every year, knee injuries put a damper on daily life for millions of people. Knee pain may be mild and nagging, sharp and intense, or intermittent… showing up at exactly the wrong time. If you are experiencing knee pain, consider seeing an orthopedic physician near you for an evaluation and care. In the meantime, let’s take a closer look at what you can do to care for common knee injuries while awaiting professional medical care.

Caring for Knee Injuries at Home

When it comes to knee injuries, remember this one word: rice. “Rice” is an acronym that stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. The R.I.C.E. method is a standard approach for treating the most common knee injuries. The goal of this at-home knee pain therapy is to minimize pain and swelling. Here’s how it works…

    • Rest. Your body needs time to recover. Don’t try to “tough it out” when what your knee actually needs is rest.
    • Ice. Applying ice can help reduce swelling. Don’t ice for more than 20 minutes at a time. Place a towel between your skin and the icepack for insulation.
    • Compression. An elastic wrap or some other compression device can help control swelling when properly applied.
    • Elevation. Finally, keep the injured knee elevated above the heart by reclining on a couch or lying down in bed. This will help reduce swelling, as well.

In addition to practicing R.I.C.E., you may consider taking NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen to help manage pain and swelling.

When to Get URGENT Care for a Knee Injury

Not all knee injuries can or should be cared for at home. Some knee injuries may require urgent care. If you experience extreme pain or sudden swelling, seek out an urgent care facility near you for immediate attention.

Additionally, you should receive urgent care for a knee injury if…

    • The joint appears to be deformed
    • There was a popping sound at the moment of injury
    • You are unable to put any weight on the leg

If you are experiencing chronic knee pain, read “When Is It Time to Have a Knee Replacement?” to learn more about total knee replacement and other surgical options that may be available to you.

Schedule With a Houston Orthopedic Doctor

Struggling with knee pain? Schedule your next appointment at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics by calling (713) 756-5546. You can also schedule your appointment online.

Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.