If you have an acute (sudden)
anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, use the
following first aid steps to reduce pain and swelling:
Rest and reduce your activity level.
If it hurts to put weight on your knee, use crutches until you can see your
doctor. Crutches can be rented from most drugstores. Crutches should not
be used for long, because a lack of activity can cause muscle tissue to waste
away and cause restricted movement of the knee.
Ice your knee. To avoid a freeze-burn, don't put the ice directly on your skin.
Put a cloth or towel between the ice and your knee.
knee while applying ice or anytime you are sitting or lying
Wrap your knee with an elastic bandage or neoprene sleeve
(available at a drugstore). This may help ease pain during movement and reduce
fluid inside the knee. Don't wrap your knee too tightly, as this may cause
swelling below the bandage. Loosen the bandage if it is too tight. Signs of an
overly tight bandage include numbness, tingling, increased pain, and coolness
in the foot.
After diagnosis of an ACL injury, your doctor may suggest
exercises that help strengthen your leg and increase your range of motion. They
may be the start of your nonsurgical treatment program or be used to help
prepare your knee for surgery. For more information, see the topic: