How to treat a swollen knee best

Coffeecup Member Posts: 16
edited 27. Aug 2015, 06:55 in Living with Arthritis archive
I am pretty new to all this so please forgive my ignorance. Still trying to get my head round it all.
My situation isn't too bad at all yet.
I have what might seem an obvious question.
My knees, esp my right knee, swell up sometimes, esp after driving.
So when I get out of the car I move around a bit etc.
Should I then rest it? Or keep moving?
Anyone got any idea how to ease the pain during driving?
I take Ibuprofen before hand. Have tried Voltarol gel, doesn't do anything.
The GP helpfully suggested cruise control , maybe he would like to pay for a new car.
I like driving! I want to keep on driving!
The pain sets in after about 30-40 mins.
Thankfully work only takes 15 mins
But my daughter with mental health issues is at uni, nearly 2 hrs away, and I try and see her quite a bit.
Thanks. :cheers:


  • tedthered64
    tedthered64 Member Posts: 84
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    There is no easy fix, especially with driving. I have suffered with these type of knee problems for years and know exactly how you feel when driving.
    Ask you're GP for strong pain relief, I use tramadol, take regular breaks if driving a long distance and consider anti inflammatorys.
    In the early stages I found heat pads and rest helped a lot.
  • Slosh
    Slosh Member Posts: 3,194
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I don't have knee problems but have had to switch to an automatic car for other reasons. As well as heat packs, I currently have one round my neck and shoulders, what about trying cold packs (frozen peas are often reccomended ) and raising your legs.
    See your GP as well and see what else he/she can suggest.
    He did not say you will not be storm tossed, you will not be sore distressed, you will not be work weary. He said you will not be overcome.
    Julian of Norwich
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,726
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Exercise is very important to keep the muscles strong. Some of these suggestions on self-help for OA from Arthritis Research UK might help

    I know a new car will seem like a crazy idea but an automatic really does make life easier especially if you are doing long journeys. Think seriously about it when you decide to get a new one. Meanwhile, you could try to stop and have a bit of a walkabout and leg stretch say every 20 minutes, before it gets bad. Most NSAIDS work better if taken regularly. You may prefer not to do this but you could try it for longer journeys ie maybe one the night before and then just keep it up until you're safely home. (But get a stomach protecting med from your GP and always take them with food.)

    Personally, I never took strong pain relief such as tramadol or codeine before driving as I preferred the pain which I understood to the unknown implications of loss of concentration.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I have a car with cruise control and don't use it. I prefer a geared car because at least I have to move things every now and again, but with widespread arthritis that to me makes sense. I have two kinds of arthritis affecting both knees and the swelling thanks to the OA can be nuisance but I still employ RICE as taught by a physio many years ago (this was when my knees would swell and were hot to the touch).

    R = rest and E - elevation. When I'm resting both feet are up on a footstool with maybe a pillow underneath my knees to give them extra support. If having to drive a long distance (for me that is anything over 50 miles) I stop frequently to get out, walk around, swear internally and (if the timing is right) take more pain dullers.

    I = ice. Small bags of frozen peas make ideal iced packs because they can curve around the joint. It's best to wrap them in a teatowel so you don't harm your skin. Clearly mark them 'knee peas' so they are not consumed.

    C = compression. This is harder to achieve at home but can be done. In my bad old days I would heave a tubigrip bandage over the pea-filled teatowel to squash things.

    None of these are permanent fixes but they can ease things a little for a short while.

    If your swelling isn't hot then you may find heat more comforting. If so then do the R and E bit but add H for heat. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • Coffeecup
    Coffeecup Member Posts: 16
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you all.
    Very useful.
    Looks like I'll be investing in a small coolbox this afternoon.
    Ice on it sounds like bliss actually.
    What about cold sprays?
    I've used those on my back ( which is also a problem, I'm falling apart!!) before, in the acute phases.
  • barbara12
    barbara12 Member Posts: 21,281
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    This question comes up regular how much do I exercise and how much I exercise through the pain, after driving I would keep it moving , for a while , just to get the blood flowing..and then elevate and ice..
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I was told that cold sprays are not much cop because they don't penetrate far enough whereas the cold from peas will because they are in contact with the skin for some time (around 20 minutes was my norm).

    The best ever experience of this was in hospital. For want of a better description a deflated tube was put around my knee then filled with iced water. It was then inflated to do the compression bit and I had to lie there for 30 minutes whilst it got to work. I would often nod off. Oh to have a similar bit of kit at home, far better than mucking around with peas, tea towels and tubigrip. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • Rebeccarockchick
    Rebeccarockchick Member Posts: 50
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Coffeecup, First of all I wanted to say welcome. I have OA in my knees, left knee more than right and lots of other joints, plus I have a load more health issues. I am 34 years old, I have never learnt to drive so I cannot help out with that one but my advise for sore and swollen knees are the reusable ice packs. It was the best thing I ever bought. I also have a reusable wheat pack. I have got a wedge shaped pillow to raise my legs up at the end of my bed or settee. Next time you visit your GP you could possibly ask for some chilli rub, I cannot remember the name, it is not everyones cup of tea as it is a warming/burning cream, some people swear by it. It is another thing to try maybe. Pilates is another one to try as this will build up the muscles around the joints and keep them strong,this will help for all areas that are aching and causing you problems, you can see a difference in just a couple of sessions too. xx becks :D
  • DebraKelly
    DebraKelly Member Posts: 398
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Several things have worked for me over the years.

    Heat patch or frozen pack on the knee. Keep the knee elevated as much as you can.

    I usually sleep with a pillow under my feet to help keep my knee straight.

    Not sure if there is a right or wrong answer!