If you’ve somehow managed to injure your knee, you’re no doubt in a lot of pain. When our knees hurt, we’re limited to the kind of things we can do – even walking can be a chore! To help you nurse your knee back to health at home, follow these care tips:
Treating your knee at home can help you to get rid of pain, swelling, and stiffness. Here are the steps to follow:
Rest is important, so you need to stop or change an activity that could be hurting your knee. Continuing with sports and other activities that could be affecting your knee could have long term complications, so rest until your knee is healed otherwise you could regret it (you don’t want a knee replacement, do you?)! Place a small pillow under your knee so you can rest your whole leg comfortably.
Ice will help you to reduce pain and swelling, so apply ice or cold packs immediately to best minimise swelling. You could even use vegetables wrapped in a kitchen towel. Do this for 10-20 minutes 3 times a day, or more if you feel you need it. For the first 48 hours after you’ve injured your knee, avoid things that could possibly increase swelling like hot showers, hot tubs, hot packs, and alcohol. After 72 hours, if the swelling has gone down, you can apply heat and try some gentle exercise to help you maintain flexibility. Alternating between heat and cold treatments can work in some cases.
Wrap up your injured knee with an elastic bandage. Make sure the bandage isn’t applied too tight, or you could make the injury worse. If you feel numbness, pain, coolness, or swelling below the bandage then it’s probably too tight. Your bandage won’t protect your knee, so you must still avoid strenuous activity and rest your knee. If you feel you need to use a wrap for longer than 72 hours, a more serious problem could be the case – speak to your doctor.
You should keep your knee elevated with pillows as you apply ice, any time you sit or lie down. Keep the area above the level of your heart, as this will minimise swelling. Reduce stress on your sore knee as best you can. You may even like to use a stick or crutch.
Gently massage the area to relieve pain and encourage blood flow, but stop if it causes any pain. Hamstring stretches and knee to chest stretches will also help.
Avoid running, skiing, and snowboarding until your knee is no longer painful or swollen. If anything else hurts your knee, avoid the activity. If you feel your pain is prolonged in anyway, then make sure you visit your GP to get a diagnosis just in case it’s something more serious. If you decide to take non prescription medicine, then carefully read the instructions on the bottle or box, and never take more than the recommended dose. If you have been told to avoid certain medicine, double check with your doctor before you take it!