The pain of an injured knee is something you’ll never forget. Even just a minor tweak of the tendons surrounding it can be excruciating.
Unfortunately, if an injured knee isn’t properly treated, it can become the sort of nagging pain that returns again and again. You may even lose some of your mobility permanently.
For this reason, it’s vital that you treat your injury right away by doing the following.
Let the Knee Rest
Despite how painful a knee injury can be, the good news is that some of you will be lucky enough to make a full recovery by doing nothing more than simply resting it.
The tough part is actually doing the resting, though – believe it or not. That’s because unlike, say, an injury to the arm where you can simply wear a sling, you need your knee to get around.
Nonetheless, you have to limit this movement as much as you can. Whenever you’re not using it or in a situation where you need to sit down (e.g. school, at an office, driving, etc.), elevate the knee. This will not only help with the pain, it will keep the swelling down, which is a definite priority immediately following a knee injury.
Another easy way you can reduce the amount of time you’ll need to spend without full use of your knee is by applying ice.
Ideally, you want to do this the moment you know something is wrong with your knee. Then, going forward, ice it for 20 to 30 minutes every few hours or so for 2 to 3 days. You may have to do it a bit longer; don’t stop until the swelling has gone away completely.
To control the swelling, you should use straps, an elastic bandage or sleeves. A knee brace is not the appropriate solution – yet. While it will provide stability, it can’t apply enough pressure to keep the swelling down.
Eventually, Add a Knee Brace
Once the swelling has gone down and you’re able to move around without pain becoming an issue, then you can move on to using a knee brace. Again, its function is to provide support, allowing your weakened knee to still play a role in your mobility.
This is another helpful addition to your recovery process that can be used as soon as the swelling is gone. It has the dual benefit of both providing you with support and pulling up on the skin so the injured area can receive fresh blood and lymphatic fluid. That will do a lot to help you heal.
Put your knee at a 90-degree angle. Then grab a piece of kinesiology tape. Depending on its length, you may need to cut it in half. Twist the tape so there is a tear of the paper in the middle of it. Then grab either end and pull it across the front of your leg, just below the knee. You probably want about 80% stretch here. The tape shouldn’t wrap around your entire leg; each end should end so the entire piece is just halfway around.
Then take that second piece and wrap it over the top of the first one with zero stretch.
The next piece of tape is going to run from the top of the quad to the outside of the kneecap and then attach to just below the other pieces right above the calf on the inside of the leg.
To do this, pull the paper from the tape and touch the middle section down below the kneecap on its outside. Then, pull up with 25% stretch to the quad and then down to the other side of the leg as we outlined above, again with 25% stretch.
With the last piece, anchor the sticky end to the inside of the quad. It will then mirror the last piece, so it will go down the inside of the knee and sit above the calf. Give this one a bit more stretch, though – about 50%.
When the three pieces of tape are attached, you should have an X shape with the intersection of the two pieces being below the knee and the top sections running up the quads. You should still just be able to see the outside edges of that first piece.
Don’t forget to rub the tape a bit to make sure the adhesive activates or the tape may not stay in place when you begin moving around. Obviously, you want to be careful not to irritate the injured area.
There’s no escaping the fact that some knee injuries are so severe that you absolutely must see a doctor. You may even require a cast, splint or surgery. That being said, if you don’t have a serious injury, the above advice will go a long way toward helping you recover quickly.