3 Ways To Treat Knee Pain At Home: When To See An Orthopedic Surgeon

Why Does My Knee Hurt?

Almost everyone encounters knee pain once in a lifetime. Knee pain can range from mild to severe with or without other accompanying symptoms. Trauma, overuse, medical conditions like arthritis, and being overweight are common causes of knee pain. Moderate to severe knee pain may require medical attention, but a person can usually treat mild knee pain at home with the below approaches.

1. The RICE method

The RICE method is one of the most popular ways to treat knee pain at home. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Rest as much as possible in the early days of an injury and try to keep the limb elevated. Apply an ice pack to the affected area and use a compression bandage to prevent the knee from swelling. Do not apply the bandage too tight, or the circulation will be disrupted, leading to further complications.

2. Let’s get exercising

Daily physical activity is another helpful way to relieve pain. Exercising helps to strengthen the muscles and regain mobility. Try low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, yoga, and tai chi to prevent further aggravating the injury. Studies showed that tai chi decreases knee pain and improves the range of movement, balance, and flexibility for patients with osteoarthritis.

3. Control your weight

Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for the health of the knee. Too much weight can impact the knees and joints. If body mass index (BMI) is high, speak to a healthcare provider about ways to reduce weight. Dietary changes and physical exercise can be incorporated into a daily routine to reduce BMI safely over time.

Additional approaches

Besides RICE, exercise, and weight control, there are other ways to treat knee pain at home. One common way is to take over-the-counter (OTC) medications that can reduce pain and inflammation. Natural products such as herbal ointments and ginger tea have also been shown to relieve pain. Wearing a brace to support the knee may help as well.

When to call the doctor

Knee pain that does not improve after conservative treatment may require medical attention. If the knee pain becomes severe or interferes with daily life, the patient may be referred to an orthopedic surgeon. Consult the doctor immediately if the pain is accompanied by swelling, warmth, redness, tenderness, and fever.

The surgical consult

The orthopedic surgeon will take a brief medical history and examine the knee for pain, tenderness, and range of movement. The surgeon will also order tests such as blood work and x-rays. Based on the findings, the orthopedic surgeon will advise on the right treatment choice. Some treatment options include steroid injections, minimally invasive surgery, or knee replacement for severe cases.

The solution for knee pain

In most cases, mild knee pain can be treated at home. However, if the symptoms persist or warning signs such as fever and redness appear, medical attention is necessary. With the proper treatment, the knee can be back to full function in no time.


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