If you’ve suffered from a knee injury, you’ve probably been told to rest it and let it heal. This is great advice, and often works for minor injuries that heal within a few days of taking it easy. Commonly, athletes who run or rotate their knees can frequently develop “tweaks” to the ligaments surrounding their knees. This may cause minor pain and swelling, but often heals itself after a few days of rest.
However, if you have rested your knee for a few days, and you don’t see or feel any improvement in the swelling or pain in your knee, then resting may no longer be a good option for your treatment. In fact, after a week of resting with no improvement, you may begin to do more harm than good toward your recovery.
Why can resting an injured knee be harmful?
It seems counterintuitive, right? But sometimes, for injuries that are more than minor tweaks, resting can cause stiffness in the joints, which further limits your mobility. In some more severe cases, a significant amount of rest may result in muscle atrophy, which will need to be addressed by a doctor.
It is important while you are recovering from a knee injury to practice slowly moving your knee, such as bending and straightening it, throughout the day. This will help keep the joints from stiffening, and may help reduce the inflammation in the area. If you cannot put weight on the knee, lay on your back with your leg lifted, and practice slowly bending your knee in this position.
Next steps for treatment after resting your knee
If your knee injury has not recovered from several days of rest, you should see a doctor. Our team at Arrow Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation offers personalized treatment plans to help patients heal from knee injuries, as well as many other types of musculoskeletal injuries.
The most common type of treatment recommended to recover from knee pain is physical therapy. Physical therapy involves guided stretches, movements and targeted exercises to help improve the flexibility and strength in your injured knee. The ultimate goal of physical therapy for knee pain is to reduce the pain in the knee and restore strength and range of motion.