Basic knowledge about knee pain
Knee pain is a common symptom in people of all ages. It may start suddenly, often after an injury or exercise. Knee pain also may begin as a mild discomfort, then slowly get worse. Pain around the knee joint with swelling or without swelling. Knee pain is a common complaint that affects people of all ages.
Simple causes of knee pain often clear up on their own while you take steps to manage your symptoms. If knee pain is caused by an accident or injury, you should contact your health care provider.
If your knee pain has just started and is not severe, you can:
- Rest and avoid activities that cause pain. Avoid putting weight on your knee.
- Apply ice. First, apply it every hour for up to 15 minutes. After the first day, apply it at least 4 times per day. Cover your knee with a towel before applying ice. DO NOT fall asleep while using ice. You can leave it on too long and get frostbite.
- Keep your knee raised as much as possible to bring down any swelling.
- Wear an elastic bandage or elastic sleeve, which you can buy at most pharmacies. This may reduce swelling and provide support.
- Take ibuprofen (Motrin) or naproxyn (Aleve) for pain and swelling. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can help relieve pain, but not swelling. Talk to your provider before taking these medicines if you have medical problems, or if you have taken them for more than a day or two.
- Sleep with a pillow underneath or between your knees.
Follow these general tips to help relieve and prevent knee pain:
- Always warm up before exercising and cool down after exercising. Stretch the muscles in the front of your thigh (quadriceps) and in the back of your thigh (hamstrings).
- Avoid running down hills — walk down instead.
- Bicycle, or better yet, swim instead of run.
- Reduce the amount of exercise you do.
- Run on a smooth, soft surface, such as a track, instead of on cement or pavement.
- Lose weight if you are overweight. Every pound that you are overweight puts about 5 extra pounds of pressure on your kneecap when you go up and down stairs. Ask your provider for help losing weight.
- If you have flat feet, try special shoe inserts and arch supports (orthotics).
- Make sure your running shoes are well made, fit well, and have good cushioning.
Further steps for you to take may depend on the cause of your knee pain.