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The knee is the largest joint in the human body, and is arguably one of the most problematic. Because of the stresses it endures, and the way the knee is built, it is prone to injury and to wear and tear. Most people experience knee pain at some point in their lives, and may wonder what to do, and how long the pain might last. Knowing some of the basics about knee pain can help you make an informed decision about what to do next.
Most knee injuries are mild and produce mild pain and swelling. When a person twists or strains the knee, there is often pain at the time of injury which indicates that a need to get off the joint is imperative. If ice and compression is applied and care taken to rest the joint and allow it to heal, this kind of pain will usually resolve itself in anywhere from a few hours to a few days.
In the case of a slightly more serious injury, such as a bone bruise or sprain, the knee pain is likely to be quite intense at the time of injury, and use of the knee will be minimal at best. Swelling will occur and can become quite dramatic if left untreated. Again, ice, rest, elevation and compression are critical for treatment as soon after the injury as possible. The use of crutches or another type of support may be necessary to allow the injury to heal. Pain from this kind of injury can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months.
In the case of a severe injury, such as a broken bone, dislocation, torn ligament, or other dramatic injury, the knee pain will be immediate, excruciating and any movement by the joint will be impossible without severe pain. Medical attention will be a necessity and surgery is likely. In these cases, it can take several months, even years, for the knee pain to completely vanish. In most cases of severe knee injury, the joint will have some pain for the remainder of the patient's life.