Knees are a very complex part of the body, but they are also very injury prone. Knees are not as stable as a ball and socket joint like the hip, yet it is more exposed and in some cases more used than these joints, making the knee more susceptible to injury. Knee injuries can occur from falls, athletic injuries, accidents or conditions such as arthritis. However, many knee issues stem from simply putting too much stress on the knee while performing repetitive activities or high impact exercise like running or climbing. If your leg muscles are not properly trained it can also put more stress on the knees. If you are feeling knee pain because you are overusing the knees you can often treat this pain with home remedies of knee pain relief that can get you back on your feet sooner.
Knee Pain Relief
- Control your weight. People who are overweight put more stress on their joints. This is particularly severe on the knees because you place one and a half times your body weight in force on your knee while walking. You put five times your body weight on the knees when running. The more extra weight you are carrying around, the more you risk injuring your knee with this added stress.
- Be careful with overpronation. Overpronation or rolling the feet inward can pull your knee out of alignment. Wearing shoes that have orthotics designed to prevent overpronation can help you avoid this.
- Wear the right shoes. Seek out shoes with a heel lower than one inch that are thick and sturdy. Those that tend to overpronate should seek out shoes that have cushioning or guards inside to help you avoid this. Shoes that cup the heel can also add to your stability. Seeking out shoes that are designed for the type of activity you will be doing will also help avoid injury to the knees.
- Replace athletic shoes timely. If you are running or walking in worn out shoes you are not getting the support you need. Buy new shoes every 400-600 miles of use or every six months as needed.
- Quit knee-exhausting activities. Deep bends and squats are good for your fitness levels, but they can be hard on the knees. When lifting weights, avoid locking your knees when you stand and avoid lifting very heavy weights that can put more stress on the joints. Also avoid kneeling for long periods of time as this can put excess stress on the knees.
- Seek remedies immediately. It is a common belief that you should keep running when you start to feel knee pain to help it fade. In fact, this can increase your risk of seriously injuring yourself. If your knees start to hurt, seek out a remedy as soon as possible.
- Change surfaces. Those that typically jog on the road should aim for the flattest surface, not the area where the road dips. Avoid running on asphalt or concrete as much as possible since this can put more stress on the knees. Also avoid shifting sand for the same reason. Forest pathways, running tracks or grass make ideal areas for running. Running downhill will put extra stress on your knees since your body will naturally try to slow you down so you do not fall. Slow down or run in a zig-zag motion when going downhill to avoid this issue.
- Practice cross-training. Performing repetitive exercises can put stress on your joints. Cross training allows you to perform a variety of exercises like dancing, biking, swimming, aerobics or weight training to get you a full body workout without putting too much stress on any one part of your body.
- Protect your knee. Place padding around the knee or over the kneecap to prevent any further trauma in the area. If you will be performing activities that require you to be on your knees for a long period of time, kneepads can be very helpful.
- Rest your knee. Give the knee time to heal, avoiding any activities that put stress on the knee and further aggravate your injury.
- Ice your knee. Applying a cold compress to an acute or chronic injury can reduce your discomfort. Place a bag of frozen vegetables or an ice pack on the knee for 20-30 minutes at a time for best results.
- Compress your knee. Wearing a compress can help to take down swelling in the area. It can also help keep the mechanics of your joint and the patella in their proper positions while your knee heals.
- Elevate your knee. Keeping the knee elevated will help reduce swelling by preventing fluid from accumulating in the joint. This will also encourage regular circulation to the area. Any time you are sitting you should make a point of elevating your knee.
When to See a Doctor
If you have been experiencing knee pain for 3-7 days and knee pain relief as well as over the counter anti-inflammatory medications are not helping you control your symptoms you should visit your doctor to get a further examination of the joint. You may need to visit an orthopedic specialist or sports medicine professional to help determine what damage might have been caused to the joint. Also make a point of seeking medical care right away if your knee pain is making it difficult or impossible to walk.