Knee > Treatments
Whether it stems from an acute
injury or chronic overuse, housemaid's knee often can
be treated effectively using the routine known as R.I.C.E.
- Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation:
- Your doctor will likely suggest that you take it easy
for several days, so it may be wise to clear your schedule
of any physical activities.
Ice - Initially, your doctor may recommend applying
ice packs to the knee for about 20 minutes every three
or four hours. You will probably need to do this for
two or three days or until the pain subsides.
Compression - A knee sleeve will compress the knee and
help keep the swelling down. Make sure to use a sleeve
without a "donut," or hole, over the kneecap.
The sleeve should be worn until the swelling goes away.
Elevation - Elevating your knee above the level of your
heart will help reduce swelling by dispersing excess
fluid away from the injured area.
Whenever a joint is injured, it is a good idea to reduce
the amount of stress placed on that joint. For housemaid's
knee, that means avoiding kneeling, bending, and squatting
as much as possible. Your doctor may suggest non-steroidal
anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen
to control the inflammation and swelling in your knee.
If your housemaid's knee was caused by an acute injury,
such as a direct blow, it usually will go away after
several weeks as the body gradually absorbs the blood
that is in the bursa. One way to treat swelling and
inflammation caused by housemaid's knee is to use a
warm compress, such as a washcloth, on your kneecap.
Applying heat to the kneecap can improve circulation
and help your body break down the inflammation in the
bursa. The compress should be applied two or three times
a day, using gentle pressure on the kneecap. The water
should be as hot as tolerable, as it will cool quickly.
Be sure not to use on an acutely inflamed knee, or a
knee that has had a recent trauma. In these cases, ice
may be more appropriate.
One way to minimize discomfort caused
by housemaid's knee is to wear kneepads that will cushion
your kneecap when you are kneeling. These should be
worn on both knees for balance. Any kneepad you use
should be flexible enough to allow you to kneel comfortably,
but should also have enough padding over the kneecap
to allow you to kneel without pain. Comfort and durability
should be your main criteria.
Housemaid's knee can disrupt your
routine if you regularly engage in activities that require
you to kneel on hard surfaces for extended periods of
time. Depending on the degree of inflammation to the
bursa sac in front of your kneecap, you may need to
avoid squatting or bending down, since those motions
causes the skin to be stretched over the front of your
knee. If your work requires you to spend a lot of time
on your knees on hard surfaces, it is probably wise
to consider wearing kneepads before you start noticing
any pain or swelling in your kneecap.