Knee pain is a common concern for individuals, but medical treatment is often too extreme, too invasive, or simply too expensive to take on. Thankfully, there are a variety of home remedies for knee pain that range from physical therapy movements to ice therapies in order to alleviate or eliminate discomfort entirely.
RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation
If you only remember to try one thing for knee pain at home, let it be the acronym R.I.C.E. This stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Rest is absolutely key, especially if the knee pain was brought about by an injury rather than a chronic condition. Stay off your feet as much as possible, and avoid high-impact activities like running. Icing a sore knee can also alleviate pain right away, and it may help to reduce the inflammation and swelling often associated with pain in this part of the body. Compression involves supporting the knee with a brace or an elastic wrap, both of which can decrease swelling. Finally, elevating the knee with a cushion when sitting and sleeping can reduce pain and swelling.
At-Home Physical Therapy Exercises
Three days after resting a knee injury, or right away when dealing with long-term knee pain, you can start basic physical therapy exercises to strengthen the surrounding muscles and reduce stress on the knee itself. Examples might include the following:
- Hamstring stretch using a towel to pull the heel toward the body when laying down
- Calf stretch while standing and leaning against a chair or wall
- Squeezing a pillow between the thighs to strengthen the quadriceps muscles
Take a Closer Look at Your Shoes
In many cases, knee pain is caused or exacerbated by the type of shoes worn. If the ball of the foot rolls inward as you walk, you may be over-pronating, which can put extra pressure on the knee. Wearing orthotics in the shoe to balance out the pronation may be a simple way to alleviate pain instantly. Runners or active athletes who are experiencing knee pain may also be wearing their shoes for too long. Typically, even the best athletic or running shoes are designed for 500 miles at most, so those who cover a lot of ground need to replace their shoes often in order to keep getting the cushioned support their knees require.
Eat More Anti-Inflammatory Foods
One of the keys to reducing knee pain is by reducing inflammation, which can be done by completely resting the knee or by taking medicine like aspirin or ibuprofen. However, diet can also be a smart way to reduce inflammation throughout the body. Many common foods have naturally anti-inflammatory properties, but highly-processed foods often have the reverse effect. Some foods to include to help combat knee pain include onions, ginger, cinnamon, extra virgin olive oil, salmon, blueberries, garlic, and green tea.
There are a variety of different ways to treat knee pain without a visit to the doctor, and some top home remedies include R.I.C.E., anti-inflammatory foods, new shoes, and at-home physical therapy exercises.