Knee joint inflammation can be caused by a number of conditions such as bursitis, tendinitis, arthritis, a hyperextended knee and ligament damage. People who play sports or lift weights can be prone to knee inflammation as can older active people. Those who are overweight can also be prone to knee inflammation. Unless there is major structural damage, remedies for knee joint inflammation usually include rest, immobilisation, ice, heat, medication and exercise.
About Knee Inflammation, Rest & Immobilization
Your knee takes a lot of abuse over the years. It supports your weight while you walk, climb steps or run. According to the article "Knee Pain" by the staff at Mayoclinic.com, conditions such as bursitis and tendinitis cause inflammation in the tendons, while types of arthritis and chondromalcia (softening of cartilage under kneecap) affect the cartilage. These conditions and ligament strains can cause swelling, inflammation and pain. If you have any of these symptoms, you need to rest your knee for several days and stay off your feet. If you absolutely need to get around, wear a knee brace or use crutches. This will prevent your inflammation from getting worse. It can also prevent further injury to your knee. Moreover, while you are at rest, prop up you knee with a pillow to help reduce inflammation and pain.
Ice, Heat & Medication
During the first 48 to 72 hours, use ice on your knee. Ice reduces swelling and pain by limiting the flow of blood and lymph fluid to your knee (vasoconstriction). Use an ice pack or put ice inside a towel, strap or tie it around your knee and leave it in place for 15 to 20 minutes. Continue to use ice every three to four hours while you are awake. After a few days, when the inflammation has subsided, start using a heating pad in lieu of ice. At this stage, heat can promote the flow of blood to your knee tissues, delivering oxygen and nutrients that are essential for healing. You should also take an anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve) immediately after experiencing any knee inflammation or pain. Continue to stay on this medication until your symptoms are gone.
When your inflammation is finally under control, start performing some basic stretching exercises. These will also increase blood flow to your knee tissues and will increase flexibility and mobility. You will want to stretch both your quadriceps (front thigh muscle) and hamstrings to recover from most knee conditions. To stretch your quadriceps, face a wall and grab your ankle, bracing yourself against the wall with your opposite hand. Pull your lower leg up toward your buttocks and stretch your quadriceps and knee for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat this exercise several times. For the hamstring, place your injured leg back and your other one forward. Lean forward and bend your front knee. Simultaneously, straighten your rear leg and stretch your hamstring for about a half minute. When your knee can handle some resistance, you can do wall squats and even climb stairs to build strength in your knee.