What should you do if you have a knee pain?

Expert Answers
sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The acronym RICE is a good starting place.  Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.  

Rest simply means try to minimize activity to it.  Many people assume that means a complete lack of doing anything to a damaged joint.  That's incorrect.  There needs to be some movement involved every so often to help with blood circulation and healthy tissue repair.  No movement means the joint is going to get very stiff.  

Ice is always good.  It does a few things. First, it helps with pain management. Second, it helps keep inflammation down. You can effectively ice for 20 minutes at a time, once per hour. Some people say to only ice like that twice per day. I would say that's the minimum. If the injury or surgery is fresh, ice for that 20 minutes as many times as you can. You are tying to reduce swelling and only icing for 40 minutes total out of a 24 hour period is not good enough. Place the ice bag onto the skin. It's more effective than wrapping it in a towel.  But do not ice for more than that 20 minutes, because you can cause ice burns and tissue damage. If you are trying to ice an ankle, an even better method of icing is to put it in a bucket of ice water. 

Compression. Get yourself a compression bandage (Ace wrap) and do a snug wrap around the knee.  Do that immediately after icing. Again, you are trying to cut down on inflammation. The ice did that, now compress it to keep the swelling down. The compression makes it harder for lots of blood flow to re-swell the joint.  Be careful to avoid wrapping so tightly that circulation is cut off. If your toes feel numb or look blue, it's too tight. 

Elevation. Get the joint elevated above your heart. It will help keep inflammation down, because it reduces the ease at which blood can flow to the joint. For a knee this means lay flat on your back and put your knee, calf, ankle, and foot up on a pillow. 

The above will help with knee pain, but none of it analyzes the reason for the knee pain. If it's an acute injury, then RICE will work until it's healed. If the injury is more severe and chronic, a medical professional will likely need to surgically help out the joint. For a knee, the most common forms of knee pain that require surgical treatment are meniscal tears, ACL, MCL, PCL, or LCL tears.  

pmiddlemiss eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If you are experiencing knee pain, you should have it evaluated by a licensed healthcare professional (ie. Physician, Athletic Trainer, Nurse Practitioner, Physical Therapist) To effectively, and correctly, identify the source of the pain, as well as appropriate medical treatment of the injury.  You can apply an ice pack to the affected area for no more than 20 minutes each time.  Make sure you allow at least one hour between icings to allow for the structures of the skin to return to normal temperature. Resting the area is also important to prevent further injury, as well as keeping the patient as comfortable as possible. If the patient is in severe pain, they should seek immediate treatment at an urgent care center or hospital.

thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Even though the advice in the other incorporates some useful information, you should NEVER get your medical advice from the internet. While various home remedies might be appropriate for making yourself more comfortable in the case of minor injuries, any injury that either lasts for more than a couple of days, causes extreme pain, or limits mobility should be treated by a professional health care provider. If you are in school, your school nurse can look at your knee (for free) and tell you whether you need to see a doctor or whether home remedies will suffice. Most university have health centers available for free to students. 

thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Note that eNotes answers are only intended for study purposes. If you need medical advice, you should consult your health care provider.

ajcellitti8180 | Student

With knee pain it can be a number of different things, but is your need pain an acute injury (something you specifically remember happening to cause your pain) or chronic where it just started to hurt over time?  This will tell you a lot.  If there is swelling you should use RICE, rest, ice, compression, elevation.  Your best bet is to see a doctor, athletic trainer, physical therapist, or some medical professional to truly diagnose why your knee hurts and can give you treatment and exercises to remedy the problem.

manjat | Student

First it depends what caused the pain. Does it come from overtraining, is it an old injury, did you make a funny step that caused it or did it come out of nowhere? If it is from overtraining or doing exercise you should rest, maybe massage the area (not if the massage causes pain) and put as little strain on it as you can for at least 3 days. That should make it better. If it is from exercise you should be more careful in the future and be sure to seek advice on propper form to prevent injury. If it is an old injury you should also rest and go see a doctor for further advice if the pain continues after rest. If you stepped funny and started feeling the pain after, rest for a few days, put ice wraped in a towel on it. If the pain doesn't go away after a few days you should go see a doctor to determine the seriousness of the pain and further treatment. If it just appeared do the same and go see a doctor for further instructions. 

In case you experience occasional knee pain often, you should start doing knee exercises to minimize and maybe even cure it. You can find lots of them all over internet. Sometimes it's the lack of muscle mass that causes pain and also improper posture that can hurt your back and continue down your knee.