Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Knee Sprain ACL Home Care

Home care for a cruciate ligament knee injury includes:

  • Apply a cold compress:
    • Wrap ice in a moist hand towel. Do not apply ice directly to the skin.
    • Apply for 20-30 minutes, every 1-2 hours, for the first few days.
  • Elevate your knee.
    • Above your heart if possible.
  • Apply an elastic wrap to the knee.
    • Re-wrap the knee every 6 hours.
  • Rest the injury.
    • Use a walker.
    • Use crutches.
    • Use a cane.
  • Apply a knee cast or splint.
    • The splint may help protect the knee.
  • Knee exercises
    • Start exercises after 3 days.
    • Gradually increase your activity over 1-2 weeks.
  • Acetaminophen for pain
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain:
  • Take prescribed medications as directed:
    • Don't skip doses of your medication. This makes them less effective.
    • Be aware of the common side effects that may be caused by your medication.
  • Learn everything you can about your cruciate ligament knee injury:
    • The more you know about your condition, the easier it will be to participate with your doctor in making treatment decisions.
    • Ask your doctor about good sources for information.
    • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

For more information:

Knee Sprain ACL Warning Signs

Notify your doctor if you have a cruciate ligament knee injury and any of the following:

Continue to Knee Sprain ACL Complications

Last Updated: Mar 7, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Knee Sprain ACL References
  1. Beynnon BD, Johnson RJ, Abate JA, Fleming BC, Nichols CE. Treatment of anterior cruciate ligament injuries, part I. Am J Sports Med. 2005 Oct;33(10):1579-602. [16199611]
  2. Boutin RD, Fritz RC. MRI of snow skiing and snowboarding injuries. Semin Musculoskelet Radiol. 2005 Dec;9(4):360-78. [16315118]
  3. Hayashi R, Kitamura N, Kondo E, Anaguchi Y, Tohyama H, Yasuda K. Simultaneous anterior and posterior cruciate ligament reconstruction in chronic knee instabilities: surgical concepts and clinical outcome. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2008 Jun 7. [18536904]
  4. Iversen MD, Friden C. Pilot study of female high school basketball players' anterior cruciate ligament injury knowledge, attitudes, and practices. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2008 Jun 18. [18627558]
  5. Oztekin HH, Boya H, Ozcan O, Zeren B, Pinar P. Pain and affective distress before and after ACL surgery: A comparison of amateur and professional male soccer players in the early postoperative period. Knee. 2008 Jul 15. [18635361]
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