4 Knee Pain Remedies
By Louis Corpora, PT, DPT
What are 4 Knee Pain Remedies?
Several different ways can cause knee pain. The pain can be caused by a sudden incident, overuse, or underlying diagnosis like osteoarthritis. The treatment of the condition will depend on the cause and impairments associated with the injury. There are 4 Knee pain remedies that can help people who are suffering from knee pain.
1. Staying Active
Physical activity can have a multitude of benefits. It can fight against knee pain and delay osteoarthritis. Many folks think they should rest and not do anything when they have knee pain. These individuals also typically state that they don’t know what they can do in fear that they might mess something up or damage the knee. That’s why it’s critical to meet with a physical therapist so that they can take you through a physical, orthopedic exam and design an exercise program that’s right for the individual as there’s no “one size fits all” program. Aerobic exercise has been shown to help those with knee osteoarthritis. These activities include water aerobics, biking, or walking.
Despite having knee pain, it is important to remain active to prevent muscle loss and de-conditioning. Individuals can do this by modifying their activities by manipulating factors such as time, frequency, duration, intensity, sets/repetitions, or difficulty of an exercise. A runner can modify his or her program by running for a shorter distance or decreasing their speed. A weight lifter could decrease the number of sets, repetitions, or weights. They can also modify the difficulty of the activity. For example, for squatting, a person can decrease the squat’s depth, so they aren’t going down as far. They can also decrease the resistance they typically lift so that it does not cause as much pain. The individual can then build back up slowly to get to the level they were at before.
2. Strength Training
Strength training has been shown to reduce knee pain in individuals of many different types of diagnoses. Strengthening the leg muscles, namely, those surrounding the hip, knee, and ankle, can decrease knee pain and hinder knee OA progression and other diagnoses. As the leg muscles get stronger, they will be able to stabilize and withstand load-bearing activities such as walking or climbing stairs. It’s important to target the major muscle groups of the leg to obtain optimal strength. These muscles include the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves, generally speaking. Listed below are basic exercises that will help strengthen the knees and leg:
- Sitting and standing from a chair.
- Stepping up and down on a step
- Straightening your knee from a sitting position
- Curling the leg from a standing position
- Raising your toes and heels back and forth while standing.
As mentioned before, there is no “one size fits all” strength program for everyone, and it’s important to consult with a physical therapist to find out what exercises are best for you before jumping into an exercise routine. Please read this article: Concentric vs Eccentric Exercises.
3. Weight Loss/Improving Diet
Maintaining a healthy weight reduces the risk of diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Many individuals who are overweight or obese experience knee pain. Most of the time, losing weight can decrease pain and risk for developing knee osteoarthritis. One study showed that losing one pound led to a decrease in knee pressure by four pounds. For example, losing 5 pounds can relieve 20 pounds of pressure off your knees. Another study found that losing more weight led to more pain relief than losing a small quantity of weight. It demonstrated that losing 10-20% of the starting body weight showed better improvements in pain, function, and quality of life than just losing 5% of starting weight. Losing weight also reduces inflammation. Fat is a tissue that releases chemicals that are pro-inflammatory that can exacerbate autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
Improving the quality of foods we eat can have an impact on knee pain as well. Certain fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which can have an impact on reducing inflammation. These fish include salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel. Antioxidants help the immune system and fight against inflammation. Foods rich in antioxidants include strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. Anti-oxidants such as vitamins A, K, and C are contained in green leafy vegetables like broccoli and spinach. One study showed that a group of people who took Tumeric for 8 months saw less pain and OA symptoms. As with any new regimen, it’s important to consult with your physician before any dietary or supplementary changes.
Some foods may harm knee and joint health. Excess sugar, carbs, MSG, trans fats, and saturated fats can trigger the release of cells that may increase inflammation. Omega-6 fatty acids, commonly found in cooking oils, can boost the body’s production of inflammatory chemicals. Excessive alcohol intake may also impact the body’s immune response and cause increased inflammation.
4. Lifestyle or Daily Modifications
- Change the angle of the knee when sitting for long periods of time. The more bent the knee is, the more compression the knee cap has on the femur, which can irritate long bouts of this position so let the knee extend out more to avoid increased compression.
- Wear shoes with good cushion and support can positively impact the knees, especially during long periods of standing.
- Low chairs can cause increased pain due to the demand it takes to get up and down from the chair so consider using higher chairs.
Consider a knee brace if there are high physical demands on the knees at work or during any other activity.
Please watch this video on How To Put On a Medial Unloader Brace.
To learn more about the Anatomy of the Knee, this VIDEO may help.
What if the 4 Knee Pain Remedies Don’t Help?
If you have tried the remedies and still have knee pain, the Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute is here to help. We understand the Knee Pain Can’t Wait. That’s why we offer ASAP appointments. To schedule for physical therapy at one of the 12 JOI Rehab Centers, please call 904-858-7045. This allows you to begin your road to recovery faster!
Related Articles: Knee Pain, ACL Injuries and Tears, and Total Knee Replacement FAQ.
To schedule an appointment with a JOI Knee Doctor, call 904-JOI-2000, schedule online, or click the link below.