Knee pain is one of the leading causes of impairment in most individuals after a certain age. Knee joint is the largest joint in our body which is in general strong enough to bear a wide range of movements like walking, running and climbing.
Problems of Knee Joint
Despite being the largest hinged joint in our body, the knee joint is likely to get weaker due to several reasons.
- Age-related wear and tear of knee joints
- Injuries involved in sports activities
- Chronic health conditions like knee arthritis
- Calcium deficiency
There are several common causes that result in long-term knee pain. One of the most common causes of long-term knee pain is age-related damage to certain parts of the knee, to include but not limited to the articular cartilage that acts as a cushion between the upper and lower bone.
According to WHO statistics, it is estimated that nearly 10-12 percent of people above 60-65 years of age suffer from some degree of knee arthritis.
Top 10 Home Remedies For Knee Pain
There are some home remedies that can be followed to minimize knee pain and prevent further damage. It is understandable that many prefer to not undergo an advanced treatment option, such as a knee replacement surgery unless there is no other option.
In managing arthritis, even though the condition may not be fully curable or reversible, there exist simple options that can still provide some benefit.
1. Weight loss
Since the knee joint bears the majority of body weight, it is highly advisable to reduce body weight – even if only several pounds. This would reduce pressure on the knee joint and result in a significant improvement.
Furthermore, medical research has proven that weight loss through diet control and moderate exercise can slow down damage to the articular cartilage.
Read More: Knee Arthritis and Importance of Weight Loss
Switching to high fiber plant-based foods and cutting down on calories by reducing normal carbohydrate-rich foods such as rice can help with weight loss, as well as increasing your metabolic rate through regular exercise.
2. Exercises For The Knee Joint
The complex nature of the knee joint means many different tissues work together to make movement possible. Certain exercises that strengthen muscles such as the hamstring and quadriceps help in reducing the pressure on the knee joint.
In addition to the exercises described in the link above, there are a few more advanced exercises that can be done once you feel the knee is gaining strength.
Read More: Best Exercises To Help Knee Pain
3. Exercise For The Rest Of The Body
Exercise helps in multiple ways.
- First, it helps burn extra calories that in turn results in weight loss.
- Second, exercises increase the flow of blood to various parts of the body, including the knee joint, which helps replenish the joint and muscles and reduce inflammation.
- Swimming and other upper body exercises should be considered so as not to stress the knee joint. Some exercises can be done in a sitting position, thus avoiding stress on the knee joint.
- While performing any of the exercises, it is important to note that the knee joint should not be overused. If you are doing weight exercises, consider sitting on a chair or an exercise bench to avoid stress on the joint.
Read More: Best Yoga Poses To Reduce Knee Pain
4. Lifestyle Changes
Simple changes to your lifestyle can help reduce discomfort as well.
Daily exposure to the sun – on bare skin – for no more than 20 to 30 minutes is very helpful as it helps trigger the formation of Vitamin D, which in turn helps keep your bones strong. However, be careful not to expose too much and for extended periods as there are other dangers associated with sun exposure. The inclusion of calcium-rich foods can also meet the calcium needs required of your body.
- Limit activities that cause unnecessary pressure on the knee joint. For example, long standing.
- Use rails as support while using stairs and favor the stronger knee while climbing up, and weaker knee while coming down.
- Use walking aids like canes to off-load pressure on the knee.
- Avoid consumption of alcohol and soft drinks.
- Use a footrest if your work demands long sitting hours and take a break every 30 minutes.
- Avoid foot ware with high heels.
5. Inflammation Reducing Foods
Consumption of certain natural spices and foods such as turmeric, garlic, etc. is known to reduce inflammation, which in turn helps slow down the damage in an arthritic joint.
A good way to consume turmeric beyond what is normally consumed in food is to prepare turmeric milk. A teaspoon of turmeric can be mildly fried in a teaspoon of Ghee and subsequently, a cup of milk can be added.
Other foods such as Garlic or Ginger are also anti-inflammatory in nature and can be consumed. Flaxseed is also known to help reduce inflammation. Organic flaxseed can be consumed in powder or tablet forms. Multiple options exist on Amazon per your taste and preferences – see link below:
Consumption of oils such as Olive oil and coconut oil can also be considered as these are known to curb inflammation.
6. Pain Relief Ointments
There exist a few natural oils that can help soothe the knee and reduce pain through a topical application. There are many choices available in the market, such as Kerala Ayurvedic oil – often called Murivenna – which is a popular Ayurvedic remedy for arthritic pain.
In addition, coconut oil can be used topically to ease the pain, as well as Lavender oil.
Other options include flaxseed oil, eucalyptus oil, and others. These may be locally available at herbal or Ayurvedic stores; if not, you can try purchasing high-quality oil through Amazon.
Similarly, there are other oils such as Dr. Ortho.
A safe way to try any new natural oil on your skin is to first dilute in a carrier oil such as olive oil or coconut oil, and then apply it to a small portion of the skin and observe any negative reaction – if so, do not continue utilizing the oil.
As long as these oils are natural or an Ayurvedic preparation from a trusted brand, it may make sense to try them first before going for an allopathic medicine or treatment.
7. Application Of Warm And Cold Packs
A warm pack can be useful in providing relief from pain when the knee has not been moved for a good period of time and you feel stiffness in the joint.
This may happen in the morning hours when you wake up. The application of a warm pack results in higher blood flow to the joints and relieves pain.
Later in the day or after some activity, the pain may return and swelling may occur around the arthritic knee joint. When this happens, a cold pack can be applied to provide pain relief and reduce swelling.
8. Use Of Knee Pain Relief Accessories And Aids
Nowadays, there exist a few good options readily available to help ease the pain and provide support to the knee during movement.
One such option is a protective warm covering over the knee joint called the Knee Cap. It provides warmth, mild compression and support to the knee joint. You can purchase the Knee Cap easily from various online stores. It can be put on after applying any pain relief ointment on the knee, which makes it an ideal product.
The product is made of a material that provides long-lasting durability. It is a superior product designed to allow for free movement of the knee and ensure no undue pressure on the little bone in front of our knee called the patella.
A few other products are also available, related to the knee cap, such as one with a patellar ring.
If your knee joint requires stronger support to keep it straight and protect it from bending sideways, then another product – see below:
The products can help manage knee pain before pursuing other alternatives such as allopathic pain relief medications that may result in undesired side effects with prolonged usage.
The aim is to extend the life of the knee joint for as long as possible, so more advanced treatments such as a knee replacement can be avoided or delayed for as long as possible.
9. Avoid Stress
Stress is a modern-day reality that impacts almost everyone, but there are ways to keep it in check through a combination of meditation and exercises. In addition to these de-stressing mechanisms, a good night’s sleep is critical for your body and mind.
An elevated stress level generally increases inflammation levels in the body, which in turn may worsen joint pain and cause other health issues as well. A balanced diet, exercise, and sleep are important in keeping stress levels in check.
A fact related to stress levels, that most people tend to ignore, is that our thoughts have a deep impact on our well-being. Negative thoughts about oneself or anyone else actually cause stress levels to increase in our body. Just like every action has a reaction, a negative thought actually causes harm to one’s body. Therefore, next time, when a negative thought comes to mind, remind yourself to get over it as quickly as possible.
10. Maintain A Clean And Regular Bowel Movement
The importance of keeping a clean and regular bowel movement lies in the fact that undigested food leads to the accumulation of toxins in the body that can add to inflammation.
Eating a sufficient amount of high fiber foods, fruits and vegetables will generally help keep a healthy and clean gut. Avoid oily foods or very high protein diets, and maintain a very light dinner in the evening.
Coldwater should never be consumed after eating food. Likewise, avoid soft drinks in general; but, certainly do not take them along with food. If you have a problem with constipation, certain Ayurvedic or herbal remedies can be tried at home.
Although it is believed that once arthritis sets in, a complete cure or reversal is not possible, it is very much possible to stem further damage by following the above steps.
It is often the wish of many people to avoid advanced treatment options, such as surgeries, etc. Upon the onset of Arthritis, it is highly advised to take immediate steps to naturally prevent further damage so one can live an active life as long as possible.
Dr. Kaleem Mohammed graduated as a Bachelor of Physiotherapy in 2014 from Deccan College of Physiotherapy, affiliated to Dr. N.T.R. University of Health Sciences, Vijayawada, India. Dr. Kaleem is an expert at handling physiotherapy needs of patients suffering from orthopedic and spinal conditions and post-surgery rehabilitation. Dr. Kaleem is associated with HealthClues since its inception where he facilitates diagnosis and advanced consultation with senior doctors. He is also a medical researcher and prolific writer who loves sharing insightful commentaries and useful tips to educate the patient community about fitness, treatment options, and post-treatment recovery.