Over-the-counter medications — such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen (Aleve, others) — may help ease knee pain. Some people find relief by rubbing their knees with creams containing a numbing agent, such as lidocaine or capsaicin, the substance that makes chili peppers hot.
Self-care measures for an injured knee include:
March 29, 2013
- Rest. Take a break from your normal activities to reduce repetitive strain on your knee, give the injury time to heal and help prevent further damage. A day or two of rest may be all you need for a minor injury. More severe damage is likely to need a longer recovery time.
- Ice. Ice reduces both pain and inflammation. A bag of frozen peas works well because it covers your whole knee. You can also use an ice pack wrapped in a thin towel to protect your skin. Although ice therapy is generally safe and effective, don't use ice for longer than 20 minutes at a time because of the risk of damage to your nerves and skin.
- Compression. This helps prevent fluid buildup in damaged tissues and maintains knee alignment and stability. Look for a compression bandage that's lightweight, breathable and self-adhesive. It should be tight enough to support your knee without interfering with circulation.
- Elevation. To help reduce swelling, try propping your injured leg on pillows or sitting in a recliner.
- Knee problems. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Knee_Problems/default.asp. Accessed Jan. 23, 2013.
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- Anderson RJ, et al. Evaluation of the active adult patient with knee pain. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 23, 2013.
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- Calcium pyrophosphate deposition (CPPD). American College of Rheumatology. http://www.rheumatology.org/practice/clinical/patients/diseases_and_conditions/pseudogout.asp. Accessed Jan. 24, 2013.
- Kalunian KC. Nonpharmacologic therapy of osteoarthritis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 24, 2013.
- Kalunian KC. Pharmacologic therapy of osteoarthritis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 24, 2013.
- Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT). National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/research/results/gait. Accessed Jan. 24, 2013.
- Acupuncture for pain. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/acupuncture/acupuncture-for-pain.htm. Accessed Jan. 24, 2013.
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