Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Treatment depends on the extent of your injury and whether it just happened or if you've had it for a while. In most cases, surgery isn't required.


Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or naproxen (Aleve), can help relieve pain and reduce swelling.


A physical therapist can teach you exercises that will help make your knee stronger and improve its function and stability. You may also need a knee brace or crutches during your rehabilitation.

Surgery and other procedures

  • Joint aspiration. This procedure uses a syringe to remove fluid from the joint. Aspiration may be performed if you have significant swelling of the knee that interferes with the joint's range of motion and your ability to use your knee or leg muscles.
  • Surgery. If your injury is severe — especially if it's combined with other torn knee ligaments, cartilage damage or a broken bone — you may need surgery to reconstruct the ligament. Surgery may also be considered if you have persistent episodes of knee instability despite appropriate rehabilitation. This surgery usually can be performed arthroscopically by inserting a fiber-optic camera and long, slender surgical tools through several small incisions around the knee.
March 01, 2014