Knee pain can make every step a living nightmare. It can get so bad surgery seems like the only option … but there’s a lot you can do for knee pain relief at home.
The reality is your body’s largest joint needs some “tender loving care” from time to time. Knees are involved in almost every body movement from the hips down, and sometimes they simply get flat-out worn out.
Knee pain is often your first sign of a problem. Popping a pill may stop the pain temporarily, but it’s not truly an effective solution. Lasting knee pain relief requires addressing the underlying issues that make your knees hurt.
Building regular knee care into your lifestyle will help prevent future pain and improve your knee health … and here’s how to get started.
Remember Your Whole Body Counts
Knee pain relief is a whole body issue, so you need to think beyond the pill bottle. Each pound of weight you add to your frame puts an extra four pounds of pressure on your knees while walking.
The pain is your wake up call. Your knees are a precious resource to be protected. You’ll miss them when they’re gone — just ask any one of the 4.5 million people who’ve been through a total knee replacement surgery!
It doesn’t have to be much … simply dropping 5 pounds is the equivalent of taking a 10-pound bowling ball of pressure off each of your knees each day … and that’s a difference you can feel.
Stop Wearing Stupid Shoes
Knee pain and back pain can both be caused by wearing the wrong shoes. Every inch of height on your heel increases the compression pressure on your knees by 23%, making high heels, cowboy boots and even certain kinds of “flat” dress shoes Enemy #1 when you’re fighting knee pain.
Changing your shoes is a quick fix for knee pain that works — often dramatically from one day to the next. It may seem like a small thing, but when your muscles are out of whack and your knees are hurting, every little thing helps.
Do yourself a favor. Mix up your footwear and listen to what your knees have to say about your shoes!
Think Cold Thoughts For New Pain
Suddenly sore knees may tempt you to reach for a hot pad. Put it down. Now back away.
When it comes to new injuries or fresh pain, the science says cold works better than heat. A homemade ice pack or bag of frozen peas will:
- Cut down on swelling and inflammation
- Restrict blood flow (especially important for healing sprained or bruised knees)
- Stop muscle spasms
- Numb the immediate area for fast knee pain relief
- Give better long-term pain relief for new injuries than heat
Ice packs should be applied for 15 to 30 minutes, tops. There’s no additional benefit after 30 minutes — you’ll want to break for a few hours and then apply ice again as needed.
Keep a washcloth or thin towel over the area to keep the ice pack from freezing your skin. To know if you’re shielding your skin properly, check the area after about 5 minutes. If it’s red or pink, you’ve got it too cold and need a break. If not, leave the ice in place for another 10 to 15 minutes.
Think Warm Thoughts For Old Pain
Chronic knee pain and knee pain from arthritis can take heat. Not only will it feel good, but it can help loosen up muscles to restore your range of motion.
Heat helps your blood vessels open up, bringing fresh blood and oxygen into your knees where circulation is often poor. This is good for areas where old injuries are pinching the joint and lowering circulation.
My favorite type of deep penetrating heat is far infrared. This is the same kind of heat that warms you to the bone when sitting in the sun yet so safe neonatal hospitals use to keep premature and at-risk infants warm. If you’ve been struggling with any kind of knee pain for awhile, I highly recommend using a far infrared heating pad for truly soothing knee pain relief.
Fawzi, N. Knee Replacement Statistics Infographic. Healthline. 2012 July 16.
Health. 6 Ways to Prevent Knee Problems. April 2013 Magazine — Online Edition.
Kenny, T. Ice and Heat Treatment for Injuries. Patient.co.uk. 2010 June 16.