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- Patient Comments: Meniscus Tear - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Meniscus Tear - Treatment
- Patient Comments: Knee Injury - Causes
- Patient Comments: Knee Injury - Experience
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- Knee injury facts
- What are the different types of knee injuries?
- What causes a knee injury?
- What are risk factors for a knee injury?
- What are knee injury symptoms and signs?
- What specialists treat knee injuries?
- How do health-care professionals diagnose a knee injury?
- What are home remedies for a knee injury?
- What is the medical treatment for a knee injury?
- What exercises are recommended, and what exercises should be avoided during rehabilitation for a knee injury?
- What is the recovery time for a knee injury?
- What is the prognosis of a knee injury?
- What are complications of knee injuries?
- Is it possible to prevent knee injuries?
What are home remedies for a knee injury?
Treatment for a knee injury depends on the part of the knee that is damaged and the extent of the damage.
Some injuries such as simple strains or sprains are treated with home remedies such as RICE therapy (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). Taking time off from sports and exercise may be enough for minor injuries to heal. Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve) may help treat the pain and inflammation from these minor injuries. Chronic knee injuries may respond to heat therapy.
What is the medical treatment for a knee injury?
More serious knee injuries require medical care.
Knee immobilization or splinting keeps the knee from moving and decreases the chance of further injury. Immobilizing the knee can help stabilize an injured knee that may not be stable due to torn ligaments. It also keeps the knee from moving to assist in resting the knee.
Chronic knee injuries involving inflammation and bursitis may be treated with anti-inflammatories. Injections of cortisone (a steroid with powerful anti-inflammatory effects) may be helpful in these situations.
More extensive injuries involving torn ligaments, instability of the knee joint, swelling, decreased range of motion, or fractures will require an orthopedic surgeon consultation. In the initial stages of these more extensive injuries, RICE therapy can still be used. Staying off the leg by using crutches or a wheelchair may be advised.
Surgery may be indicated for tears of the ligaments or extensive damage to the menisci. Surgery may also be needed for fractures or dislocations of the knee. Some acute injuries such as those with high-force impact, or multiple parts of the knee damaged, may require emergency surgery.
Most knee surgery can be done by arthroscopy, a procedure in which a camera is used and small punctures are made in the knee to insert instruments. Repairs can be done inside the knee without having the open the knee with a large incision. Most arthroscopic surgeries do not need to be done immediately after an acute injury. Some are delayed to allow for decreased inflammation.
After surgery, or if surgery is not an option, physical therapy can be used to strengthen and stretch the muscles surrounding the knee. Physical therapy can also allow for better movement mechanics of the leg and the knee to help prevent future injury.