For minor injuries, so much rest, ice, but also drugs to reduce inflammation and pain.
A sudden movement, performed while practicing sport, or a distraction even if you simply get off the machine, can damage the ligaments of the knee, causing what we commonly call distortion.
Fortunately, the injury is not always serious, and can be managed without the need for a specialist or without the need to go immediately to the emergency room.
How to evaluate the severity of the distortion
The medial collateral ligament and the anterior crusader are more frequently involved; to understand the extent of the injury, and therefore how to deal with it, it is advisable to first evaluate the intensity of pain and swelling and the ability or not to bend and force on the knee: if it is very painful, it swells within a few tens of minutes and you are not able to use the articulation, then you will need a prompt visit from a specialist, who with more detailed examinations will evaluate what to do.
If instead the pain is bearable, and the swelling appears very gradually after a few hours or the next day, then it is advisable to wait a couple of days before being examined, to observe how the situation evolves and to reduce the swelling, thus allowing a more precise assessment of the damage suffered.
But in the meantime, what to do?
How to behave if the distortion is not serious
If the knee trauma does not require immediate medical intervention and is minor, it is not always necessary to go to the emergency room; you can decide to calmly contact the attending physician and in the meantime ask the pharmacist for advice or manage the situation autonomously, paying attention, as the days go by, to how the appearance of the knee changes (swelling, possible bruises), the intensity of pain and the possibility of moving the joint or not.
In these cases it is usual to follow the so-called PRICE strategy, an acronym used to indicate 5 very important actions to be carried out:
- Protection (protection)
- Rest (rest)
- Ice (ice)
- Compression (compression)
- Elevation (lifting)
In the first days after the distortion it is advisable to keep the leg at rest and raised as much as possible. Equally important to reduce the inflammation is to apply the ice for several hours a day (for 15-20 consecutive minutes, every 30-60 minutes).
You may also like to read: What Osteopathy Treats, and How? The Benefits You Can Get!
The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or analgesics can be associated with the price strategy.
If the latter only help to alleviate pain, NSAIDs have the advantage of also acting on inflammation, present in the case of trauma to ligaments.
You can choose between different active ingredients, such as naproxen sodium, diclofenac or ketoprofen, perhaps preferring the drug that has a longer duration of action, and also taking into account the tolerability of cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, hepatic and renal.
They can be taken by mouth for a few days by carefully following the dosage given in the package insert and / or the instructions of the doctor or pharmacist to reduce the risk of side effects and to obtain greater efficacy from the therapy.
Alternatively, NSAIDs can be applied locally, several times a day, in the form of creams or gels, applying them with a gentle massage directly on the painful part.
Rehabilitation and recovery necessary for the most serious injuries
If damage to the ligaments is important, it may be necessary to immobilize the joint, completely or partially, for a period that must however be as limited as possible.
Afterwards, it will be possible to start again to move the knee with the aid of a “guardian”, in order to prevent risky movements for the ligaments, and if necessary using crutches.
The use of surgery is rather rare and reserved only for cases in which therapy and rehabilitation do not completely resolve the problem and do not allow to regain good stability and functionality of the joint.
Both in the case of immobilization and surgery, it is useful to follow a rehabilitation path so that the joint does not stiffen and the muscles do not atrophy.
It usually starts with a very mild physiotherapy, and then gradually grades progressively as conditions improve. It is always good to be followed by qualified and regularly qualified specialists to study the right path of rehabilitation and training.
If you play sports it is good to resume the activity only after receiving the consent of the doctor and according to the methods indicated by him, so as not to incur other unpleasant incidents involving the “injured” knee.