Reducing Knee Pain and Swelling

Closeup of elevated knee with bandage and ice pack.Many treatments can help reduce pain and swelling in your knee. Your healthcare provider or physical therapist may suggest one or more of the following treatments:

  • Icing your knee helps reduce swelling. You may be asked to ice your knee once a day or more. Apply ice for about 15 to 20 minutes at a time, with at least 40 minutes between sessions. Always keep a towel between the ice and your skin. 

  • Keeping your leg raised above your heart helps excess fluid flow out of your knee joint. This reduces swelling.

  • Compression means wrapping an elastic bandage or neoprene sleeve snugly around your knees. This keeps fluid from collecting in your knee joint.

  • Electrical stimulation, done by a physical therapist or athletic trainer, can help reduce excess fluid in your knee joint.

  • Anti-inflammatory medicines may be prescribed by your healthcare provider. You may take pills or receive injections in your knee.

  • Isometric (contracting) exercises strengthen the muscles that support your knee joint. They also help reduce excess fluid in your knee.

  • Massage helps fluid drain away from your knee.



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