Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Knee Pain Health Center

Font Size

Knee Pain

What's the Treatment for Knee Pain?

Again, treatment for knee pain depends on your specific injury. Mild to moderate injuries that cause knee pain will often heal on their own, given time. To speed the healing, you can:

  • Rest your knee. Give your knee a rest for a few days and avoid intense activity.
  • Ice your knee to reduce pain and swelling. Do it for 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours for 2-3 days or until the pain is gone.
  • Compress your knee. Use an elastic bandage, straps' or sleeves to keep down swelling or add support.
  • Elevate your knee on a pillow when you're sitting or lying down to reduce swelling.
  • Take anti-inflammatory painkillers. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like Advil, Aleve, or Motrin, will help with pain and swelling. However, these drugs can have side effects and should be used only occasionally, unless your doctor specifically says otherwise.
  • Practice stretching and strengthening exercises if your doctor recommends them.

To resolve some cases of knee pain, you may need a procedure. People with bursitis sometimes need to have excess fluid drawn from the knee. Surgery might be needed to remove bone chips or fix a dislocated kneecap.

When Will My Knee Pain Feel Better?

Recovery time from knee pain depends on your specific injury. Further, people heal at different rates. While you get better, ask your doctor if you should take up a new activity that won't aggravate your knee pain. For instance, runners could try swimming.

Whatever you do, don't rush things. Do not try to return to your old level of physical activity until:

  • You feel no pain in your knee when you bend or straighten it.
  • You feel no pain in your knee when you walk, jog, sprint, or jump.
  • Your knee feels as strong as your uninjured knee.

If you start using your knee before it's healed, you could cause permanent damage.

How Can I Prevent Knee Pain?

Knee pain can be hard to prevent, since it's often caused by an accident. But there are still some precautions you can take to reduce the risk of a knee injury:

  • Stop exercising if you feel pain in your knee.
  • Always increase the intensity of your workout gradually.
  • Stretch your legs before and after physical activity.
  • Use kneepads to prevent bursitis.
  • Wear shoes that fit well and offer enough support.
  • Keep your thigh muscles strong with regular stretching and strengthening.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Jeffrey S. Beitler, MD on February 25, 2012

Today on WebMD

Woman opening window
man rubbing painful knee
Everyday Exercises For OA Slideshow
man biting a bullet
6 Ways To Ruin Your Knees
Keep Joints Healthy
Knee exercises