Treatment Options For Most Common Knee Injuries
Believe it or not, knee injuries account for about 41% of all sports-related injuries here in the U.S. And though they range from bad bruises to broken bones or torn ligaments, the truth is that nobody wants to deal with knee pain.
The good, however, is that there are plenty of treatment options available for most knee injuries, no matter how severe. And even better, not all of these injuries require surgical intervention in order to make a full recovery. Let’s walk through the standard treatment options – both surgical and non-surgical.
As we mentioned above, for some of the more minor forms of injury discussed in this article, surgery is usually not required. Instead, patients with knee injuries can follow some of the more conventional treatment methods that are used for other orthopedic injuries:
The RICE Method
The RICE method stands for Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate. Here’s what that means for knee injuries:
Rest: Immediately stop whatever you were doing to cause the injury in the first place, including putting any weight on the injured area, regardless of your ability to do so.
Ice: Wrap ice around the knee (not directly on the skin) for 20-minute periods throughout the day. This should help mitigate some pain and swelling.
Compress: Using a medical compression wrap or band (available at most drug stores), wrap the knee snugly to help decrease swelling as well as slow any internal bleeding you may be experiencing.
Elevate: Raise the injured area above the heart if possible to increase blood flow. This normally requires lying down.
Though sometimes used in tandem with surgery, physical therapy is one of most effective forms of non-surgical treatment available for orthopedic injuries. In fact, most knee injuries that involve stretched or even slightly torn soft tissue can be healed over time through the continued use of physical therapy.
In this form of treatment, the patient will be given a set of specific exercises to work on every day that will help their injured ligament or tendon to recover better over time. Without those exercises, these sorts of injuries can easily become lifelong ailments or reoccurring issues due to the soft tissue never quite fully recovering from the overextension or tear that caused the injury in the first place. For more severe forms of injury, a specialist may be required to help the patient through these exercises.
A Knee Brace or Immobilization
This form of treatment is fairly simple, and is one that really just requires time. A doctor may recommend a brace to stop you from moving your knee for an extended period of time if it would assist in the healing process. These braces are usually designed to keep the bones and soft tissue structures in place in order to protect them. In some cases, crutches will also be supplied to assist with the brace.
While the exact nature of the surgery required for each of these injuries can vary from case to case, the standard type of surgery performed is that of a knee arthroscopy.
In a knee arthroscopy, the patient is given an anesthetic before anything is done. Then, once the patient is under the anesthesia, the doctor will make a series of small incisions around the knee. While one is used for a very small camera, the other two are typically used by the doctor to perform the surgical intervention required for the knee to heal.
The length of this procedure varies by the treatment necessary, but generally only takes between one and three hours to perform. While inside your knee, your doctor will use a number of different instruments to set you up for a proper recovery. These instruments do everything from shaving, grasping, or cutting to even helping to stitch bones into one another to secure them in their correct anatomical areas.
If you’re interested in the particulars around your surgery, ask your orthopedic surgeon to explain the procedure to you and what it will entail.
Thinking you may have a knee injury? See an orthopedic specialist.
If at-home knee pain treatments aren’t providing relief, and you’re considering surgery, reach out to our specialized team at Rothman Orthopaedics.
Rothman Orthopaedics is home to world-class orthopedic specialists serving athletes and patients across the country with bone and joint care from some of the best surgeons and physicians in the country. If you’re interested in making an appointment, feel free to follow the link or by calling us at 1-800-321-9999.