Your knee is the largest joint in your body. That makes it easy to injure, and most people know how frustrating knee injuries can be. They can happen due to high impact sports, excessive friction, improper training, or certain conditions like osteoporosis. Common knee injuries include fractures, ligament tears, dislocation, or sprains. Your knee will take time to fully heal, but there are ways to speed up the recovery process. Read on for ways to speed your recovery from a knee injury.
Ice can be used to ease the pain and reduce swelling from injuries that have occurred within the past 48 hours. It also helps reduce and stop bleeding, and control muscle spasms. You apply ice on the area that’s swelling for 20 to 30 minutes. Repeat every 3 to 4 hours for the first few days until the swelling is completely gone. You can use an ice pack or a frozen bag of peas, just put it inside a towel. That will make the cold temperature a little easier on your skin.
Rest Your Knee
Sometimes, we underestimate the severity of our knee injuries and carry on with our daily lives as if nothing happened. This is quite dangerous because not only does it slow down the healing process, but it can also make the injury worse. That’s why you should rest, and if needed, use crutches or the more convenient alternative: knee scooters or walkers. The people behind UpliftingMobility.com explained that knee scooters improve mobility and increase freedom of movement. There are many brands and models that you can choose from, so be sure to shop around before making a purchase to pick the right one for your needs.
To compress your knee, wrap it with an elastic band, sleeves, or straps. This will hold the knee to its shape and size, and prevent further swelling. Be careful not to wrap the band too tight, as that may cause more swelling. Wrap it tightly enough so that it’s relatively snug but not constricting. It shouldn’t restrict blood flow or movement, and you should remove it when you go to sleep.
Elevate Your Knee
Keep your knee elevated when you’re lying or sitting down. You can use a pillow or cushion to do that. There are pillows made specifically for leg injuries, but you can use your regular pillow as long as you make sure your leg is above your heart level. Be sure to raise your calves and feet too. If you do that for a couple of days after your injury, your knee will heal faster. That’s because this will decrease the blood flow to your knee, which in turn, will reduce inflammation. It’s important not to raise your legs in a straight angle as that could add more strain on your knees.
Take Pain Killers
Before taking any drugs, you need to check with a doctor or a pharmacist and follow the instructions. Only take drugs if the pain in your knees is too much to handle. There are over-the-counter (OTC) medications that will ease the pain, but you still need to take them with caution. There are stronger prescription drugs that your doctor can prescribe if the OTC alternatives don’t work. You can either take painkillers for the pain or anti-inflammatory drugs to get rid of inflammations. A lot of painkillers contain acetaminophen, which reduces mild to moderate pain but can harm the liver in large doses. As for anti-inflammatory drugs, most of them contain aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.
Do Stretches or Exercises
Only do stretches or exercise if your physician recommends them. When you do start exercising, the stiffness and pain will gradually subside. You can consult your doctor and ask them to refer you to a physiotherapist who will then walk you through the appropriate rehabilitation exercises that will help you heal faster. They won’t guarantee immediate recovery, but they will surely be helpful, and may even prevent re-injury. If you’re exercising at home, remember to take it slow, stop if it gets too uncomfortable, and take deep breaths.
Knee injuries are very common, but very treatable as well. In most cases, you need to apply RICE: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. That means you should avoid any strenuous activities when your knees are injured, and apply ice for some time until the swelling is gone. Apply compression by wrapping an elastic band or strap around your knee, and raise your leg so that it is at a higher level than your heart. If you’re still in severe pain, consult your doctor and ask them to prescribe painkillers. It would also be wise to see a physiotherapist. They will guide you through specific stretches and exercises that help speed up the healing process.