1. Try RICE for strains and sprains
If you’ve twisted your leg, taken a fall, or otherwise strained or sprained your knee, it can be helpful to remember the acronym “RICE”:
Get off your feet and apply a cold compress or bag of ice to the knee. Frozen vegetables, such as peas, will also work if you have no ice handy.
Wrap your knee with a compression bandage to prevent swelling, but not so tightly it cuts off circulation. While you’re resting, keep your foot elevated.
Daily exercise can help you keep your muscles strong and maintain mobility. It’s an essential tool for treating OA and other causes of knee pain.
Resting the leg or limiting movement may help you avoid pain, but it can also stiffen the joint and slow recovery. In the case of OA, not enough exercise may speed up the rate of damage to the joint.
Experts have found that, for people with OA, practicing with another person can be especially beneficial. This could be a personal trainer or an exercise buddy. Experts also advise people to find an activity they enjoy.
Low-impact activities are a good option, such as:
- swimming or water exercise
- tai chi or yoga
However, you may need to rest from exercise if you have:
- an injury, such as a sprain or a strain
- severe knee pain
- a flare-up of symptoms
When you return to activity after an injury, you may need to choose a more gentle option than you usually use.
Ask your doctor or a physical therapist to help you design a program that’s suitable for you, and adapt it as your symptoms change.