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Knee Pain Treatment and Self-Care

    • For Mild Sprains:

      • Follow the RICE method, and take medication for pain and swelling.
      • Rest the knee as long as it aches.
      • After the first three days, soak the knee in a warm whirlpool or bath.
      • Use crutches if needed.
      • When the pain is better, use gentle stretching exercise to strengthen the muscles around the knee. Leg extensions are a good strengthening exercise.
      • See your health care provider.

      For Severe Sprains, ACL Injury, and Cartilage Tears:
      • See your health care provider.
      • Follow the RICE method and take medication for pain and swelling.

      For Runner's Knee, Tendinitis, Bursitis, and Joint Mice:
      • Follow the RICE method and take medication for pain and swelling.
      • Check your shoes to make sure they provide proper support and wear evenly.
      • When the pain is better, use gentle stretching exercise (see illustration) to strengthen the muscles around the knee.
      • If swelling from bursitis lasts for more than 10 days or is very bad, a doctor may drain the fluid with a needle and then inject the bursa with cortisone.

      For Iliotibial Band Syndrome:
      • Stretch the iliotibial band, holding the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds and repeating three to six times. Do this three to five times a day, until you no longer feel pain when you run. To prevent it from happening again, do this stretch before and after each run.
      • If symptoms aren't better in 10 to 14 days after you have begun stretching, see your doctor.

      Leg extension: rest foot on stool or pile of books with knee bent at 60-degree angle. Straighten leg; hold for a count of 6, return to rest. Repeat 8-10 times.

      Iliotibial band stretch: Stand and cross your right leg in front of left leg. Push left hip out to the side, leaning torso to the right, for a slow, controlled stretch. Hold for 5 counts, repeat 3 to 5 times on one side and then switch to other side. Do not bounce.

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