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Reducing Knee Pain and Swelling

Many treatments can help reduce pain and swelling in your knee. Your doctor 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 icce for about 15 to 20 minutes at a time, with at least 40 minutes between sessions.

  • 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 doctor. 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.

Woman lying on back with leg raised on therapy table and knee supported by rolled-up towel. Ice pack is on knee. Pads are stuck to knee with wires going to electrical stimulation machine.
Icing, elevation, and electrical stimulation can help reduce inflammation.

Online Medical Reviewer: Bellendir, Trina, MSPT, CLT
Online Medical Reviewer: newMentor board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 5/7/2013
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