When you are first injured, the RICE method -- rest, ice, gentle compression and elevation - can help. Be sure to seek treatment as soon as possible, especially if you:
- Hear a popping noise and feel your knee give out at the time of injury
- Have severe pain
- Cannot move the knee
- Begin limping
- Have swelling at the injury site
The type of treatment your doctor recommends will depend on several factors, such as the severity of your injury, your age, general health, and activity level.
How is a knee injury treated without surgery?
Many knee injuries can be treated with simple measures, such as:
- Immobilization. Your doctor may recommend a brace to prevent your knee from moving. If you have fractured a bone, a cast or brace may hold the bones in place while they heal. To further protect your knee, you may be given crutches to keep you from putting weight on your leg.
- Physical therapy. Specific exercises will restore function to your knee and strengthen the leg muscles that support it.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines. Drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen reduce pain and swelling.
How is a knee injury treated with surgery?
Many fractures and injuries around the knee require surgery to fully restore function to your leg. In some cases - such as many ACL tears — surgery can be done arthroscopically using miniature instruments and small incisions. Many injuries require open surgery with a larger incision that provides your surgeon with a more direct view and easier access to the injured structures