Knee pain that occurs as a result of common sprains and strains can be easily treated at home using a simple method known most commonly as the "RICE" solution. The RICE method for knee pain relies on a combination of rest, ice, compression, and elevation for reducing inflammation around the aching joint, and facilitating quick recovery, so that you can get back on your feet in no time.
Following, we'll address the basics of the RICE method, and how each stage can be used to treat your knee, and alleviate the symptoms associated with mild injuries.
The "Rest" part of the RICE method for knee pain is simple enough. If you sprain or strain your knee, you need to stop or reduce your level of activity for a couple of days. Depending on how severe the pain is, you might find that your doctor recommends that you avoid putting weight on that leg for a couple of days too. The amount of time that you need to rest will vary depending on your level of pain but the RICE method for knee pain usually recommends waiting until you can walk on your leg without too much discomfort.
The RICE method for knee pain suggests that using a cold pack or a bag of ice on your knee four to eight times a day can be a great way to reduce excess swelling and get rid of the pain that most people experience following a strain or minor injury. Make sure that you surround the icepack with a towel to avoid freezing the skin.
Keep in mind that while ice can help the knee after an activity, heat can help the joint before activity, by lubricating the cartilage, and improving the range of motion in the limb.
This is where your knee compression sleeve comes in handy. Compression assists in reducing the swelling around the knee joint, while ensuring that the structure remains supported for healthy healing. Make sure that you check with your health care provider on how tight your compression sleeve should be, and don't wear one if it's causing additional pain.
Compression can also help to improve the circulation around your knee too, which can increase the speed at which the injury heals.
Finally, elevation helps to reduce swelling in the knee and remove some of the pressure that can build up around the joint. The RICE method for knee pain generally recommends elevating your leg to an extent that your knee is above your heart, which often means stacking a few pillows beneath the joint.
Make sure that you only use elevation for the first day to help control the swelling - you shouldn't need to elevate for any longer after that.
When to See a Doctor
Keep in mind that the RICE method of knee pain can be helpful with minor injuries, but if you're suffering from severe pain, or the solutions given above aren't giving you any relief, you might need to see a doctor.