What Does a Knee Injury Feel Like?
Of course, the symptoms vary depending on your specific knee injury. But things to look out for are:
- Pain, often when bending or straightening the knee.
If you have either of these symptoms, see your doctor. Together, you can figure out the cause. To diagnose what's causing your knee pain, your doctor will need to do a thorough exam. You may need X-rays, MRIs (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), or MR arthrogram -- a special type of MRI in which a dye is injected into the knee to see more detail of the joint.
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.