Your knees are important weight-bearing joints. They not only help keep you upright but also allow you to walk and run. Your knees are subjected to a heavy toll daily, which means they are very strong and durable, but not indestructible. In fact, knee injuries are pretty common.
By now you’ve probably heard of the RICE method, which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. This is a regimen used to treat minor to moderate orthopedic injuries. Here, we will talk about temperature therapy, or the use of ice and heat, to treat knee injuries.
Cold Therapy for Knee Injuries
Cold therapy is often used to help reduce inflammation and pain associated with many knee injuries. This treatment should be applied immediately after the injury and should continue for 72 hours or until the pain and swelling have subsided.
The low temperature helps constrict the blood vessels and has an effect of reducing swelling and inflammation in the knee. It also numbs the area, which can help to relieve pain. When using ice for a knee injury, it is important to wrap the ice in a towel or cloth, so it does not come into direct contact with the skin. Ice should be applied for at least 20 minutes at a time, several times a day. It is also important to keep the injured joint elevated above heart level as much as possible to reduce swelling.
If you experience increased pain when icing your knee, you should stop immediately and consult an orthopedic doctor.
Heat Therapy for Knee Injuries
Heat therapy is a common and effective way to treat many knee injuries. The heat helps relax and loosen up muscles and increases blood flow to the area, which can promote healing. It can also help to reduce pain and inflammation. Heat therapy is typically applied only after swelling has subsided. The last thing you want is to make the swelling worse, as heat can dilate the blood vessels. This is why you should always consult a doctor to ensure you aren’t applying heat therapy to the wrong type of injury.
Heat therapy is usually applied using a heating pad or hot compress. You can apply heat to the knee several times a day for 10-15 minutes at a time. Start with warm temperatures and gradually increase as tolerable. You can also take a warm bath, which can help with improving how your knee feels.
Both ice and heat treatments can be beneficial for treating various knee injuries. However, it’s important to know the appropriate time to use each. If ice therapy does not improve your symptoms, it is best to make an appointment with an orthopedic doctor. Meanwhile, heat therapy should not be applied to a knee that is actively painful and swollen.
Knee Injury Treatment in Hartford and Tolland Counties, CT & Springfield, MA
The board-certified orthopedic specialists at Advanced Orthopedics New England are knee injury experts. Through a thorough review of your symptoms and an examination of your knee, we can determine the type of injury you have and apply the best method of treatment that will get you on the path to recovery. We can also provide minimally invasive treatments that boost your knee’s ability to heal.
To schedule an appointment with one of our doctors, call our office today at (860) 728-6740 or use our convenient online request form.