The largest joint in the human body, most people will experience some type of knee pain or discomfort during their lives. Whether caused by a sudden injury, overuse, or an underlying condition like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or fibromyalgia, knee injuries and conditions can cause everything from pain and stiffness to swelling, discoloration, and difficulties walking. Here’s a look at some tips and tricks to get that knee pain or injury under control–and you back on your feet.
Rest and Elevation
Sometimes, the simple answers are the best ones. If you’ve injured your knee, whether from playing sports, a work injury, or just a simple stumble and fall, keep off of it for a couple of days. Avoid things that can cause swelling in the first 24 hours, including very hot showers, Jacuzzis, or heating pads, and take a break from the exercise or activity that’s triggering your knee pain.
Resting your knee with a small pillow under it to keep it elevated whenever you’re sitting or lying down is another good way to get the pain and swelling under control quickly.
Icing a knee injury is an excellent way to minimize swelling and pain. If you can, apply ice immediately after an injury. Additionally, applying ice, a cold pack, or even a bag of frozen vegetables for 10 to 15 minute intervals, 3-5 times a day while you’re elevating your knee can speed the healing process along.
Following the first 48 hours, you can also use moist heat to reduce pain and reestablish flexibility. Alternate between cold packs and a heating pad for the best effects.
Compression and Massage
Wrapping the painful or injured knee with an elastic bandage can decrease swelling and provide support. Just make sure that you don’t over-tighten the compression bandage, as that will only exacerbate your knee pain. If the area isn’t too painful to the touch, gentle massage can also increase blood flow to the area, promoting healing. A quick online search should provide you with several gentle stretches and massages for your specific knee condition.
Talk to Your Doctor About Physical Therapy
If your knee pain or injury hasn’t healed within two weeks, talking to your physician or health care practitioner about physical therapy or other medical solution may be a good idea.