Health / Expert Advice

3 Reasons Your Knee Injury Isn’t Healing and What to Do

Stop suffering from knee pain, and get on the mend ASAP.

When you love to be active, a nagging knee injury can really put a damper on your plans. Knee discomfort and injuries are common, but they don’t need to be chronic. If your knee injury isn’t healing, it may be a sign you need rest or treatment—so don’t ignore it. Here’s everything you need to know about recovering from a knee injury.

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Common Knee Injuries

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the knee is a complex joint, making it one of the most easily injured joints in the body. Common knee injuries can range from minor ligament sprains to severe tears, which typically require surgery, says Matt Bayes, M.D., sports medicine and regenerative orthopedic specialist at Bluetail Medical Group in Chesterfield, Missouri. “A flare of pain in an osteoarthritic knee refers to when a patient with knee arthritis has a severe flare of pain and/or swelling after an athletic activity without injury. This usually happens because the knee is no longer able to withstand the activity,” he notes.

Mistakes Runners Make That Can Cause Knee Injuries

For runners, avoiding knee injury is an important consideration while training. “The most common reason for knee injuries in runners is increasing the distance too quickly,” warns Brian Schulz, M.D., orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles. “Generally, it is recommended to increase distance 10 percent or less per week.”

Other tactics you can use to avoid injury:

Once you know what to avoid injury, use these workouts to take your fitness to the next level.

Possible Reasons Your Knee Injury Isn’t Healing

A knee injury that isn’t healing should be evaluated by a doctor right away. There are a few potential reasons you may find yourself in this situation.

You misjudged its severity.

When you first hurt your knee, maybe you didn’t think it was so bad and kept on keeping on. “Failing to rest from exercise when there is severe pain often causes an injury to progress from mild to severe,” Bayes says. “Simple rest alone will heal many knee injuries.”

Listen to your body, and never push through knee pain, Schulz adds.

You didn’t give it enough time.

“Mild soft-tissue injuries typically need at least two weeks to heal sufficiently to tolerate high-level activity,” Bayes says. “Returning too soon from a knee injury may exacerbate pain and tissue damage.”

You didn’t follow the proper steps.

If your knee injury isn’t healing, ask yourself if you took the proper steps for recovery. (Those are coming up next.)

How You Should Heal a Knee Injury

If you do find yourself with a hurt knee, here’s what you should do:

What if you’ve tried and tried but still feel like your knee injury isn’t healing? “Injuries that fail to recover with rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) and time may be more serious,” Schulz says. “Seek a medical evaluation if an injury persists.”

Ready to take your fitness to a new (and safe) level? Check out Aaptiv here for free.

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