10 Home Remedies for Knee Pain
Although athletes and active people who jog or participate in other sports are the most likely to experience knee problems, it’s also a common health issue amongst non-athletic people. Knee pain is often a symptom of regular wear and tear due to walking, standing, lifting and injuries. The knee is a delicate joint and it carries a great burden as it supports most of your body weight. To understand knee pain it’s important to understand the composition of your knees and how it’s formed of three parts1:
* Tibia – This is the shin-bone, the larger bone of your lower leg
* Femur – Otherwise known as the thigh-bone or the upper leg bone
* Patella – More commonly known as the kneecap
* Each of these bones is surrounded by a layer of cartilage which is responsible for absorbing the shocks and bumps and protects the knee. This is all held together by a maze of muscles and ligaments
The most common knee problems are2:
* Sprains or strained knee muscles and/or ligaments – This is usually caused a blow to the knee or an over twisting of the knee
* Torn Cartilage – This is usually caused by a stronger sprain causing the cartilage to tear
* Tendonitis – This is a state of inflammation in your tendons and usually happens from over exertion in sport
* Osteoarthritis – This is the most common type of arthritis and is a degeneration of the cartilage in the joint
Knee problems are not to be taken lightly and are best avoided in the first place. If you’re experiencing knee pain it’s a good idea to get it checked out by a professional to see what’s happening. In the meantime though, here are 10 home remedies for knee pain you can try yourself:
#1 – Lose Weight This is easier said than done, but if you’re overweight then losing those extra kilos or pounds is probably one of the best ways to take the unneeded strain off of your knee. If you already have knee pain, then most types of exercise might be out of the question and you have to consider low impact exercises. Here are the most recommended types of exercise for people with knee pain3:
* Swimming – The ultimate low impact sport which gives you a total body workout
* Cycling – Best done at the gym to avoid potential impacts experienced on the roads or riding on terrain
* Rowing – Actual rowing or just using the rowing machine at the gym is fine
* Using gym equipment – avoid machines which put stress on your knee
#2 – Rest If you’ve just injured your knee, one of the best things that you can do for the first few days or so, is not to put any more pressure than needed onto that knee. Give the injury time to heal, and prevent any further damage. It’s important to note though, that too much rest can make your condition worse. By resting for extended periods of time you risk weakening your muscles which can make your knee pain worse.
#3 – Change Your Gait – How You Walk How we walk is very much determined by habit. I have personally found that concentrating on how I walk, and making sure my feet were pointed straight ahead, instead of my feet pointing outward, made a dramatic difference in my knee pain. It only took 2-3 days for me to completely change my gait so my toes were pointed straight ahead when I walked and for me that completely eliminated my knee pain.
#4 – Wear Proper Shoes It’s important to consider wearing cushioned insoles, this will reduce the pressure and stress on your knee. Wearing a good running shoe will also help align your body better further reducing the burden on your knee. It’s a good idea to see a physical therapist who can recommend the proper shoes and insoles for your specific condition.
#5 – Apply Heat and Cold Applying heat and cold is most effective in the first 72 hours after a knee injury3. Using a cold pack will help numb the pain and bring the swelling down. It’s important to note not to apply a cold pack directly to your skin, make sure it’s wrapped in a cloth or thin towel. Do this 4 times a day for 15-20 minutes.
Afterward you can apply heat to the area using heating bandages, a heating pad or taking a warm bath. You should also be applying heat 4 times per day for 15-20 minutes at a time.
#6 – Compression Putting a compression bandage around your knee helps reduce pain, adds warmth and increases your blood flow around the knee. It also limits patella movement and stabilizes that whole area of your knee.
#7 – Knee Brace A knee brace is designed to take the pressure off of the part of your knee which is injured which promotes healing. If you have a more serious knee injury you may be discouraged from going out or doing your daily routine, a knee brace can also help give you the confidence to get out of your house and take care of the things you need to get done.
I have found that wearing a knee brace when participating in sports like downhill skiing, provides that extra strength and power when I need to it.
#8 – Herbal Ointments There are 4 herbal ointments which a scientific study has found to have equal pain relief capacity as some over the counter medication. This is a great idea as you can avoid using pharmaceuticals and use natural products instead. Here are the four ointments you should try for your knee pain:
* Cinnamon ointment
* Ginger ointment
* Mastic ointment
* Sesame oil
#9 – Strengthening Exercises These exercises are meant to strengthen the muscles which give you the support you need to take weight and pressure off of your knee. Since exercise with a knee injury can be risky, it’s a good idea to see a physical therapist to get the proper exercises for your situation prescribed. Once you know what’s safe, you can do the exercises at home.
#10 – Knee Massages There are a few knee massages that will help out your knee pain, and you can do them by yourself. The American Massage Therapy Association recommends these 6 massages:
* Thigh tapping to the anterior thigh
* Front thigh glide
* Outside thigh glide
* Inner thigh glide
* Knee friction
* Finishing glide stroke
You can find the instructions on how to do these massages here. Giving these natural and healthy methods a try is a great way of avoiding the use of pharmaceuticals. But it’s important to realize knee pain is a serious thing which shouldn’t be taken lightly. If your knee pain persists or worsens, don’t put off visiting your doctor.
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Knee Pain References and Knee Pain Information
* Healthline Magazine: https://www.healthline.com/health/pain-relief/knee-pain-home-remedies#herbal-ointment
* The American Massage Therapy Association: https://www.amtamassage.org/publications/massage-therapy-journal/knee-self-massage/