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How do I Treat a Torn Knee?

By J. Beam
Updated May 17, 2024
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A torn knee, or more specifically, an injury occurring to the cartilage, tendons, ligaments or muscles in the knee, can occur as a result of physical trauma to the knee. Often, a torn knee is the result of a sports injury or other accident. If you are suffering pain or swelling in the knee, you could have a torn knee and should see a doctor or sports medicine specialist, especially if the pain or swelling is severe or does not improve within the first 24 hours.

Based on the severity of the injury, a doctor will determine the necessary treatment for your injury. In some cases, physical therapy or surery may be necessary. Common treatment for a torn knee may include prescription strength anti-inflammatory drugs as well as a brace to immobilize the knee. If more conservative treatments, such as drug therapy and reduced movement, do not facilitate healing, other measures may be taken.

It is important to remember that a physical injury to muscles or joints may not respond to self-treatment and if an injury is severe enough to result in a tear or even fracture, medical attention is necessary. In the event that you suffer an injury such as a torn knee, but the pain is not severe enough to warrant emergency treatment, you can practice a few simple treatment measures on your own until you can see your doctor.

If you think you have an injured or torn knee, apply an ice pack to the affected area for approximately 15-20 minutes each hour to help reduce swelling. You can also take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen, which will help reduce any swelling and relieve pain. You might also consider using an elastic bandage or basic knee brace, both of which can be purchased at most pharmacies. A bandage or brace will help immobilize the knee and reduce the risk of further injury or irritation.

All of these measures can help reduce discomfort and further injury, but are not meant as substitutes for a doctor's care. Since some injuries to the knee can be diagnosed and treated only by a physician, it is always better to get professional help to avoid permanent injury. Oftentimes, reduced activity and physical therapy is all that is needed for complete recovery of a torn knee, but without a proper diagnosis and treatment plan, the injury could worsen or resurface later.

If you have suffered an injury that results in severe pain, you should visit an emergency or urgent care center as soon as possible.

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