Emergency Department and Minor Injury Unit
You have been given this information because you have been diagnosed with a knee injury.
There are four main ligaments in the knee that can become injured. During injury, a knee ligament may be stretched (sprained), or sometimes torn (ruptured).
You may have also suffered from an injury to the areas of cartilage tissue which act like shock absorbers in the joint – these are called menisci.
You may suffer from the following symptoms:
- Severe pain in your knee
- Instability in your knee, which means you cannot put much weight on it – especially when going up or down stairs
- Swelling in your knee
- Not having the full range of movement in your knee and, in particular, not being able to straighten your leg completely
- Locking or giving way of the knee.
Treating a knee injury
Most knee injuries can be treated with PRICE advice. The aim is to reduce swelling, pain and joint stiffness, while preventing further damage.
For the first 48 to 72 hours think of:
PRICE – Protect, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.
Do no HARM – no Heat, Alcohol, Running or Massage.
Depending on the knee ligament injury that you have, you may be provided with a special brace to support your knee while the damaged ligament heals.
The following exercises may help:
Recovering after a knee injury
Most injuries take 2 to 3 weeks to recover, but sometimes may take up to 6 weeks to be completely comfortable.
If needed, painkiller options include the following:
Paracetamol is usually recommended for painful sprains or strains.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) relieve pain and may also limit inflammation and swelling. You can buy some types (for example, ibuprofen) at pharmacies, without a prescription either topically as a cream, or as tablets. You should check the medication advice leaflet to ensure you are safe to take these as some patients with asthma or stomach ulcers may not be able to.
- The James Cook University Hospital, Marton Road, Middlesbrough, TS4 3BW
Telephone: 01642 850850
- The Friarage, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL6 1JG
Telephone: 01609 779911
- Redcar Primary Care Hospital, West Dyke Road, Redcar, TS10 4NW
Telephone: 01642 511000
South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust would like your feedback. If you wish to share your experience about your care and treatment or on behalf of a patient, please contact The Patient Experience Department who will advise you on how best to do this.
This service is based at The James Cook University Hospital but also covers the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, our community hospitals and community health services.