My boyfriend hurt his knee badly, starts new job Monday. Help bring swelling down!
June 10, 2006 6:31 PM   Subscribe

My boyfriend hurt his knee badly, starts new job Monday. Help bring swelling down!

On Friday my boyfriend, trying to avoid a pedestrien, banged up his knee badly on a 3 feet metal fence.
His whole weight was pressed onto that metal fence and he made a full stop on his knee.
His knee was bloody and scrathched up but the worst of it is the very bad swelling around the knee.
Tonight he still cannot put much weight on it and cannot bend the knee at all.
Monday he starts a new job where he has to stand up all day and help customers. I am trying to get him to go to the clinic but he insists that it wil get better.
Anything we can do at home to spped up the hraling process?
posted by sandrapbrady to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Oooh. I just did this last month, falling into a concrete step with full body weight. My knee was swollen up and hurt like a mofo, but two days later it was OK. For the first day, I thought I'd never walk again it hurt so bad.

If he can put SOME weight on it, it's probably going to be OK. The obvious things are the right ones: cold (ice-pack, frozen pea bag, etc) and elevation, do not use the leg. Ibuprofen will help more with the pain than other pain killers. Get him a cane to keep weight off it when he has to move. The cane was a good friend to me.

Still, don't you think his new employer is likely to understand a physical injury if it's really a problem? It's not like he's complaining of a hangover or a headache. He can't stand up or walk, fer chrissakes.

If it's not better by Monday, he should see a doctor in any case. You can't just tough it out if there really is serious damage.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:43 PM on June 10, 2006

In general: Rest, ice, compression and elevation is the usual recommendation for musculocutaneous injury and swelling.

Of course, if there's a broken bone or a torn ligament it won't get better on its own. Doctor visit is the right idea here; they can do an x-ray and a physical exam to rule out something that'd require intervention.

This isn't medical advice; it's just general statements. I suggest that you go get medical advice.
posted by ikkyu2 at 6:45 PM on June 10, 2006

I broke my kneecap into three pieces, along with the tearing of tendons and ligaments that accompany such an event. I know from this experience that it can be difficult to evaluate the seriousness of a knee injury without an x-ray. If the three major bones of the leg are not broken, it's easy to believe that what's happened is a 'sprain' or something similar, and it may be, but it may also not be.

It's Saturday, and he can't put any weight on it. On Monday, he must stand up all day to help customers. Forget it. He needs a dose of reality, and a doctor.
posted by bingo at 6:56 PM on June 10, 2006

Second rest, ice compression and elevation. See the doctor Monday. I know he starts a new job and all, but your knee is you, while a job is not. Purchase crutches. Have him show up on crutches, go to the doctor in the afternoon and have him keep his leg up for the morning half day. He'll know what's going on Monday night and then follow the doctor's advice.

Note, if new job is food service or retail, just call in and go straight to the doctor.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:01 PM on June 10, 2006

I suggest you find a homeopathic pharmacy in your area asap and ask for arnaca pills and arnaca cream. It helps with bruising, swelling and healing. Stuff actually works imo.
posted by milarepa at 7:57 PM on June 10, 2006

milarepa, are you freaking kidding? Homeopathic remedies have pretty much been proven not to work for anything. Or at least they have repeatedly failed to be proven to work for anything -- including the usual stuff the boosters and quacks claim, like allergies and colds. You suggest arnica (not arnaca, at least spell it right if you're going to recommend quackery) for a serious, painful, musculo-skeletal injury ? That is simply wrong, bad, and dangerous advice. (Dangerous in the sense that it wastes time best spent going to a real doctor.)

See Homeopathy: The Ultimate Fake on Quackwatch. Sorry if this is a derail, but truly bad medical advice needs to be countered, even if this comment gets deleted.
posted by fourcheesemac at 9:29 PM on June 10, 2006

Well, just to follow up, from Running Times magazine:
Arnica contains helenalin and related compounds, which are known to be involved in anti-inflammatory action. The concentration of arnica in gels is much higher than in homeopathic remedies and thought, by some researchers, to be a viable explanation for an anti-inflammatory response.

Another way of using herbal arnica to treat muscle soreness is internally, but almost all experts and health agency recommend against it. The FDA considers consumable arnica as unsafe. One fatality has been reported following consumption of a 70-gram arnica tincture. Ideally, scientific testing screens out dangerous and ineffective products for the consumer. But the reality is, all the data for homeopathic arnica and herbal arnica gel are not in, and won’t be for awhile.

So, apparently there may be some modest anti-inflammatory properties to arnica, though not as good as an Advil. And of course if the gel contains enough helenalin compounds to actually have anti-inflammatory effects, it is no longer, by technical definition, a "homeopathic" remedy with respect to its purported mechanism of action. Save the trip to the quackshop. Take a couple of Advils. They are proven to work.
posted by fourcheesemac at 9:37 PM on June 10, 2006

When this happened to me, my kneecap was also broken into several pieces. (And if your boyfriend thinks it wasn't violent enough to cause that, all I did was slip on a tile floor and land on my knee.)

Get him in for an x-ray. Go to an urgent care clinic or similar, then he can know what's going on before Monday. Instead of calling in to the new job and saying "I need to see a doctor," he can call in with the real details from the doctor. Probably less risk of looking bad.
posted by mmoncur at 9:41 PM on June 10, 2006

RICE - Rest Ice Compression Elevation is about all you can do on top of popping some ibuprofen.

Get the thing x-rayed just for precaution.
posted by b_thinky at 10:08 PM on June 10, 2006

You probably won't read this until Sunday morning. If he can stand on the leg with the injured knee with no problems, then he likely had a minor "boo-boo" and is going to be fine. Give him some TLC just in case.

If he yelps like a dying animal the moment he puts weight on it, then you have a problem.

Look in the phone book under Clinics or Physicians for an Urgent Care or Ambulatory Care or Immediate Care center (names vary depending on what part of the country you live in). Those are generally open weekends and have x-ray on the premises.

Advantages: Immediate care, no waiting for appointment, immediate x-ray, immediate prescriptions if necessary, ace wraps and crutches available, doctor's note to take to the new job.

Disadvantages: If starting a new job, then he is unlikely to have insurance benefits yet. Will have an out-of-pocket expense. X-rays can be expensive.

Rubbing some kind of snake-oil cream on it and hoping for a miracle is lunacy. Go get evaluated. Hopefully, it is just a sprain, and some rest, some peace of mind, plus a doctor's note, will go a looooong way towards his recovery. If it is not just a sprain, expect referral to a specialist.

(Note: if your town does not have an urgent care or ambulatory care center, then you may need to consider going to the ER unless you are certain you can get in to see a doctor Monday morning. If he has more than just a sprain, doing ANYTHING to that joint can cause significantly more damage and make a bad situation much worse.)
posted by Ynoxas at 10:12 PM on June 10, 2006

A friend of mine hurt his knee like that and soldiered on despite the pain. He not only spent far longer in greater pain than he would have if he'd rested, he also ended up with the other knee in trouble, because he favoured it for a couple of weeks, limping so badly.

Seriously, it was weeks before he could walk properly again. If he'd spent a few days letting it heal he would have been far better off.

What would be worse, not showing up for a perfectly sensible, documented reason, or showing up, collapsing in pain after a couple of hours, going home and not being able to work for a couple of weeks?
posted by AmbroseChapel at 10:59 PM on June 10, 2006

Can you find someone to cover his shift for him?
posted by effugas at 11:32 PM on June 10, 2006

Ugh, that sucks. A lot of places will fire you for not showing up on the first day, no matter how good the excuse is.
Ice, Compress, Elevate (it's kinda lame to have an acronym that includes one of the words inside it, but think of it as a recursive mnemonic).
Make sure that he eats well, and if you guys can afford it, make the appointment with the doctor. Urgent care should be your backup if you can't see a GP.
For the job, give them a call tomorrow and give them a heads-up. From working shitty standing jobs, both his boss and his coworkers will appreciate the advance notice. Hopefully, he'll be fine in a couple of days, but if he's not people need to start scheduling the shift now.
posted by klangklangston at 11:47 PM on June 10, 2006

I did exactly this once (except it was my ankle), and while I can't give you any advice about repairing the damage quickly that's not already been given, I can tell you that I struggled into the first day of my new job on crutches, using a taxi - and it was a great talking point. Any first day issues with breaking the ice and getting to know my new teammates were rapidly put aside as people fussed and helped and queried the doings and healings of my ankle. So it's not all doom and gloom!
posted by benzo8 at 12:52 AM on June 11, 2006

Showing up with a crutch and a replacement might not be a bad idea, though if they're around to receive your call today, call them _NOW_ and tell them.
posted by effugas at 2:05 AM on June 11, 2006

Ice for 20 minutes, take it off for 20 minutes. Repeat throughout the day.
Compression, Rest, Elevation are also to be added to the mix.

posted by drstein at 1:17 PM on June 11, 2006

I'm no doctor, but I had a soccer season where I managed to roll both ankles pretty bad. This was what I did, combining advice from my trainer and a nurse, and it allowed me to walk around and play just fine (I taped them when playing for extra support). This largely echoes previous posts:

Take a loading dose of 800 mg Ibuprofen, then take as directed after that.

Put ice in a bag, put it directly on the knee (doctors always say to use a barrier, I've found it's useless advice). The ice should start to hurt quite a bit, then finally the area will go numb. Give it another 5 minutes and take it off. Wait a while (at least 20 minutes) before doing it again.

Keep the thing elevated, gently exercise it by bending it (don't stress it too much).

Note on the Ibuprofen: it will help the swelling but will also reduce the pain quite a bit, which can fool you into thinking your joint is healthier than it actually is. So, be careful. You might want to wrap it with an elastic bandage (being very careful not to cut off any circulation).
posted by dsword at 1:38 PM on June 11, 2006

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