Following the RICE protocol, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation, is the best combination of home treatments for knee pain, according to WebMD. In many cases, this regimen relieves discomfort and inflammation in the knee without the need for prescription medications.
For the resting component, a change in activities that cause discomfort in the knee can help ease the pain, reports WebMD. This often means eliminating or altering a normal routine until the discomfort goes away. When sitting, a small cushion beneath the knee can reduce its load even further.
Ice packs should go on the knee for 10 to 20 minutes at a time, at least three times a day, according to WebMD. It is important to avoid all potential causes of swelling for the first two days after the injury, such as sitting in a hot tub, taking a hot shower or drinking alcohol. After that, alternating between cold and heat manages inflammation while retaining flexibility in the joint.
Compression involves wrapping the knee with an Ace bandage or other elastic wrap to reduce swelling and provide support, although wrapping it too tightly can cause more swelling, tingling and numbness, explains WebMD. Elevating the knee on cushions while lying or sitting down reduces swelling and pain as well. The best results are obtained by elevating the knee to a point even with or higher than the heart.