I have some knee issues so I have to be careful with some of the things I do. First off you say its is the area above the knee not the knee itself right? This sounds more like a muscle strain than a joint issue.
It sounds to me like an inflammation of the quadriceps tendon or maybe possible bursitis, but this is why we go to doctors: to find out what the problem is. Whether ice, heat, massage, anti-inflammatory, or other intervention is called for really depends on the nature of the problem. Generally, though, tendonitis is an overuse injury -- where "overuse" simply means that you tried to do too much for your current level of conditioning.