Rest Following an Injury

After an injury, it is advisable to rest the affected area for a few days to allow it to heal. Without it, continual strain is placed on the area, which can lead to increased knee swelling, pain, and in some cases further damage. There is also a risk of the area not healing properly if it is not allowed time to recover.

But how much is appropriate?  Obviously it will depend on the injury, but usually a few days is about right and no longer than a week.

By rest I mean avoiding any activities that increase your pain. Avoid putting too much weight through it or stretching it too much. If it hurts, that's often your body's way of saying you are overdoing it. But that doesn't mean you should take to your bed!

Can I Rest Too Much?

YES! It is REALLY important to get moving again after a few days otherwise the muscles start to weaken and the joint stiffens. As things are healing, the right stresses and strains need to be put through the area to help it heal properly.

Rest is really important in the early stages following an injury.

If a muscle isn't being used at all, it loses 3-5% of its strength every day. Therefore in 3-5 weeks a muscle loses half its strength. You may not initially realise that the area is getting weak as you tend to lose endurance strength first, how long the muscle can keep working for, before instantaneous strength, how strong the muscle is for a short period.

However it takes much longer to get strength back. To increase muscle strength by 10% takes about sixty days.

How Do I Avoid Losing Strength?

You can maintain muscle strength without aggravating an injury with some simple exercises. By tensing the muscle without moving the joint, known as an isometric contraction, for several seconds a day, you can maintain muscle strength.

You don’t have to work the muscle as hard as you can, you only need to work it at about 20-30% of its maximum (i.e. think about how hard you could tense the muscle and just do about one third of that).

Check out the knee exercise section for appropriate exercises to do in the early stages following an injury.

What Else Can Help?

This is just one part of the PRICE treatment plan (Protect Rest Ice Compression Elevation). For more ideas on recovering from an injury, visit the knee pain treatment section.

If you want some help working out what is causing your problem, visit the knee pain diagnosis section.

Go to Knee Treatment Guide or Homepage

Your Comments

Share your knee pain experiences with others, whether it be ideas, top tips, things that worked well for you, problems you've had etc.......
Check out our book - Knee Arthritis: Take Back Control. Available in paperback or on Kindle

All the info you need, in our new book
Find out more

Read Reviews/ Buy Now


See Also

Treatment options - Where to start?

Knee Braces: Would they help?

How can I strengthen my leg?

Test your flexibility - would stretching help you?

Search This Site

Visitor Comments

“This is one of the best self-help & info sites of any medical condition I've ever seen. Excellent work.” Amy, UK

"Your site and exercises have been a lifesaver! The explanations are so clear.  Thanks for your help and excellent work."  Claire, US

"I'm an RN. This is really useful, easy to understand info."
Jan, US

“Thanks to Lots of improvement after just two days.” Suresh, India

"This is the best self-help site I have ever seen for knee pain. It is very difficult to find such a comprehensive volume of information on one site without being advised to "Just purchase this product!" Many, many thanks" Jennifer, US

"Superb site, many thanks, so much helpful content especially the targeted strengthening exercises for me.” Gerri, UK

“Thank you so much, your response makes so much sense. Thank you again for your time in answering my questions.” Cynthia, US

"Your website is a gold mine, thank you very much."
Gavril, Denmark

"Thank you for this website and all the information, especially the videos. I suffer from knee stiffness and pain when standing and now I have some exercises I can do - thanks to you." Claire, US

"I LOVE your website. Out of all the others, yours is so informational and easy to read." Michelle, US

"This is the best site dealing with knee problems that I have come across. I will be putting the stretches and exercises into practise. Thank you!"
Margaret, S. Africa

"The information given by you is fabulous. Thank you." Nihal, India

"Your site is excellent! It covers everything you need to know about knee pain and it's treatment in an easy to understand format. Thanks!" Linda, US

"Brilliant website - highly recommended! And as nurse (25yrs exp) its written expertly and is very explanatory and easy to understand. Thank you!" Jo, UK