A sprained joint can be painful and it is good that you are trying to rest your leg. You first want to make sure that your injury
is just a sprain with no other bone or joint capsule involvement. Your primary care physician
should evaluate your injury. This is especially true if this is your first injury or if you have had multiple injuries to the same joint.
A way to remember the appropriate steps to treat bruises and sprains is with the word RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). Rest is important because without it you can cause more strain to the area, leading to more inflammation and possibly further injury. Ice not only helps relieve pain, but also decreases inflammation. To use ice appropriately, you should place it on the affected area for about 20 minutes and then let the area relax. You can wrap the ice in a paper towel or thin towel so that it is not directly on the skin. However, you do not want to overuse ice because it can lead to decreased blood flow to the area. Compression with an ACE bandage can also help decrease swelling from the inflammatory process. Again, you do not want to overuse compression or wrap the area too tightly because you can decrease blood flow. Lastly, elevation of the affected leg will also help decrease the swelling.
Even though these treatments can help with symptoms of a sprained knee, you should follow up with your primary care physician to ensure there are no other worrisome symptoms. Your physician may also recommend Ibuprofren (Motrin) to help with pain control and inflammation.