Knee injuries can happen quickly and take a long time to heal. Because this joint is so critical to nearly all activities of daily living, your recovery plan will need to consider how you can protect the joint while simply getting around your house and place of employment. Protecting the knee from further damage and allowing it to heal are critical.
Take Some Time to Rest
Even if the joint isn’t so damaged it needs surgery, a knee injury will require time to heal. Pressure on the joint can do further damage and the tissue in your knee will hurt when pushed to work hard. In addition, knee damage can impact your physical alignment further up your body and may cause hip or spinal pain if you push too hard.
Exercises and Stretches
If your knee injury can remain closed and doesn’t require surgery, consider moving your exercise routine to the pool. This will limit the weight you put on the joint. When recovering from a knee injury, it’s important to do different exercises including range of motion, strength workouts, and balancing exercises. Doing these exercises can help improve the recovery and healing process. If you have the chance to get in the water, you can work along the side of the pool while you protect your knee and rebuild your strength. If possible, work in warmer water to avoid muscular tension and tightening. If you don’t own or have access to a pool consider “RCPT” or Rec Center Physical Therapy and use a rec center pool. Away from the pool, remember to ice and elevate the joint.
During recovery, focus on RICE or rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Use a timer and elevate and ice the joint for 20 minutes at a time. Ice the knee in this manner every two hours, then expand it to four hours as the joint heals. You may also want to use ibuprofen or some other anti-inflammatory to lessen the swelling that can contribute to pain. Self-care of a knee injury can only go so far, however. If you can’t walk because the pain is so severe or the leg is malformed, seek medical help immediately. Many who suffer a knee injury hear or feel a “pop” as a tendon or ligament tears or dislocates. Those who suffer from a torn meniscus may find that there is no sound but the knee locks and won’t bend at all for a time.
Knee injuries are common and can severely impact your life. The ability to bend your knee is critical to many simple activities including bathing, dressing, and driving. If you suffer an injury, rest and ice immediately and seek medical help if the pain and swelling don’t improve.
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