Sports Medicine

Knee Injury / Pain

Pain, swelling, and stiffness are the common symptoms of any damage or injury to the knee. If care is not taken during the initial phases of injury, it may lead to joint damage that may end up destroying your knee.

Common causes of knee injury are:

  • Fracture of femur (thigh bone), tibia, and fibula (leg bones)
  • Torn ligament (either anterior or posterior cruciate ligament)
  • Rupture of blood vessels following a trauma that leads to accumulation of extra fluid or blood in the joint
  • Dislocation of knee cap (patella)
  • Torn quadriceps or hamstring muscles
  • Patellar tendon tear

If the pain and swelling is rapid and fast, then immediate diagnosis and appropriate medical treatment is advised. Initial diagnosis includes history and physical examination followed by an X-ray.

Immediately following a knee injury and before being evaluated by a medical doctor, you should initiate the R.I.C.E. method of treatment:

Rest: Rest the knee, as more damage could result from putting pressure on the injury.

Ice: Ice packs applied to the injury will help diminish swelling and pain. Ice should be applied over a towel to the affected area for 15-20 minutes four times a day for several days. Never place ice directly over the skin.

Compression: Wrapping the knee with an elastic bandage or compression stocking can help minimize swelling and provide support for your knee.

Elevation: Elevating the knee above heart level will also help with swelling and pain. 

Acute or mild knee injury does not require knee surgery. It can be treated with RICE and anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen. It may also be necessary to drain out accumulated extra joint fluid with the use of a syringe or needle. If pain persists for a long time or appears at night or while at rest, it is important to visit a doctor to seek advice.

In some cases, if pain is intolerable, doctors may recommend a cortisone injection. Cortisone is a potent anti-inflammatory that helps to decrease pain and inflammation in the knee joint. It is a good practice to avoid use of cortisone, as it weakens and softens your cartilage thereby leading to arthritis of the knee.

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