Knee pain can be caused by ill fitting shoes, too little sleep, or poor diet. Symptoms that can accompany knee pain include swelling, stiffness, weakness, and decreased range of motion. Here are several effective strategies to get your knee in shape.
Knee Pain: Rest
Take a break so your knee has time to heal. You’ll only need 1 or 2 days of rest to ease minor knee pain, but severe injuries may keep you off your feet longer. Talk to your doctor if it doesn’t get better after a few days.
Try the RICE formula to treat a knee injury:
- Rest for a day or two to heal.
- Ice your knee to calm inflammation.
- Compress (wrap) your joint for support and to stop fluid buildup.
- Elevate it on a pillow or stool to curb swelling.
Knee Pain: Use a Cane If Necceasry
Feel unsteady? Use something to steady you as you move around. Choose a sturdy, strong, light cane with a rubber tip and a handle that’s easy to grasp. Hold it at a 45-degree angle to be sure it’s the right height.
Watch Your Weight
Extra pounds add strain to your knees and raise your risk of painful arthritis and injuries. But even moderate weight loss can make it better. If you need to drop a few pounds, set a goal to lose just 5% of your current weight over the next few months.
Tiny needles are put into the skin around your sore joint. Research shows it can ease knee arthritis pain, though it’s still unclear how. Look for someone who’s trained and experienced. Many states license acupuncturists.
Use Heat and Cold
If your knee pain flares, try hot or cold treatments. Moist heat is better for pain relief than dry. Soak in a warm bath, or zap a damp washcloth in the microwave. To ease a swollen knee, press a bag of frozen veggies wrapped in a towel against the joint.
Try Braces or Sleeves
Support a sore, weak knee with a brace, sleeve, or tape. Ask a physical therapist to fit you with one or to tape your knee. A simple sleeve that fits over your knee can offer short-term pain relief, too. You can find them at the drugstore.
Support Your Arches
Choose shoes that support your arches, or get slip-in inserts at your local drugstore. If those don’t work, you can ask your doctor about custom supports. But those can be expensive and don’t always work better than the ones available over the counter.
Throw Out Your Old Shoes
Shoes can stretch and wear out after a while. Don’t keep wearing your favorite pair after their support and tread have worn out. You may find that new shoes that support your feet and ankles well ease your knee pain.