Flare Ups


Flare ups, or an increase in symptoms (most commonly swelling, stiffness, weakness), can be caused from a variety of reasons. It doesn’t mean that anything bad has happened just that the underlying knee problems may have progressed.
The treatment for flare-ups is to reduce the swelling and return quad control. This is done by working on quad sets and range of motion. The more your able to force your quadriceps(thigh muscles) to fire the quicker you’ll be able to push that swelling out and return to normal function. Using ice and compression will help also.

You should limit your exercise and activity until the symptoms have subsided. In other words, stop doing the exercise routine you were on and go back to the basic extension/flexion exercises. Stay there until you have re-established your extension, quad control and flexion. Also be careful not to walk with a limp. If you feel unstable it’s ok to use a crutch, walker, or cane.
Once you have your motion and quad control back resume your exercises where you left off.
You can also use nsaid’s(anti-inflammatories) and Tylenol.

Watch video below by Dr. Lawless regarding medication


NSAID stands for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, for which there are many different options. NSAIDs are used as a pain reliever. The two most common over the counter NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, etc.) and naprosyn/naproxen (Aleve). Appropriate doses for adults with normal kidney and liver function to take are:

  • Ibuprofen – (1) to (4) 200 mg tablets taken up to 3 times a day
  • Naproxen – (1) to (2) 200 mg tablets taken up to 2 times a day

These medicines can be taken safely with acetaminophen (Tylenol), but different NSAIDs should not be taken together. 

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is not an NSAID, but simply a pain reliever. Acetaminophen can be taken by itself, or safely be taken with NSAIDs in the appropriate dose.

  • Acetaminophen – strengths vary, but up to 3 grams total per day

For example: A typical combination taken for severe pain would be 2 tablets of Aleve 2 times a day, with 3 grams of Tylenol taken throughout day. A possible combination under that example might be 2 Aleve tablets with 2 extra strength Tylenol in the morning and at night, with 2 extra strength Tylenol taken mid day. 

Always take the lowest effective dose. If needed, you may take acetaminophen alone or in combination with NSAIDs. 

Please consult your physician before taking NSAIDs or acetaminophen.

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