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Knee pain can be brutal to treat, but these natural home remedies will help you relieve your aches and pains. Consider adding some of these treatments into your daily routine.
Knee pain is one of the most prevalent complaints among both older individuals and younger athletes, second only to back discomfort. Knee injuries are among the most prevalent causes of knee discomfort, but you don’t have to fall, trip, or be in an accident to harm your knees.
What may induce knee discomfort in the absence of an injury? Knee discomfort may be caused by arthritis, overuse, osteoporosis, specific kinds of workouts like jogging, and repeated motions.
What is the best way to get rid of knee pain? The first step is to figure out what’s causing your suffering. Treating inflammatory health issues (such as autoimmune illnesses), exercising properly, keeping a healthy weight, stretching, and doing specific knee exercises may all help you find relief.
Knee Pain: Common Causes
Knee pain refers to any kind of discomfort in the knees, including sensitivity and throbbing. Knee pain is often accompanied by additional symptoms affecting the legs, which might include:
- Swelling of the kneecap
- Walking, squatting, or completing other activities causes discomfort that becomes worse.
- Inability to support one’s weight on one’s knee
- Stiffness and a decreased capacity to move the knee, such as difficulty straightening and bending it
- Insufficiency in the afflicted leg
- Around the kneecap, there is redness and warmth.
- Legs have a limited range of motion in general.
- When you attempt to move, it seems like your knee “gives out.”
- Unusual noises, such as popping or crunching, while moving the knee.
The knee joint is where the primary bones of the upper and lower legs meet, and it is a complex component of the body made up of interconnected bones, cartilage, and ligaments. The knee is the biggest joint in the human body, and it acts as a “hinge joint,” with the femur (thigh bone), tibia (shin bone), and patella (knee cap) held together by multiple joints and tendons. Knees must bear pressure, weight, and stress, and they depend on leg muscles to keep them stable and robust.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome, often known as runner’s knee, explains pain and other symptoms affecting the region between your patella (kneecap) and your femur (thighbone). Knee pain may be either chronic or acute in nature. Chronic pain is pain that does not appear abruptly and worsens with time. It normally lasts 4–6 weeks, although it may last up to a year.
Acute pain occurs “on the spur of the moment,” with immediate repercussions. For example, following a sudden injury, you may experience intense pain and hear a “popping noise” or feel sharp aches right away. Acute knee pain might lead you to collapse in anguish and prevent you from moving much after that.
The following are the most common causes of knee pain:
- Leg injuries include those affecting the cartilage, ligaments, tendons, or fluid-filled sacs (bursae) around the knees.
- More than 20 million people in the United States alone suffer from knee osteoarthritis (OA), which is “one of the top five most disabling conditions that affect more than one-third of persons 65 years of age or older” and is “one of the top five most disabling conditions that affect more than one-third of persons 65 years of age or older.”
- Poor form, abnormalities, or muscle compensations that cause the kneecap to move out of its ideal position are examples of biomechanical issues.
- Gout is a condition in which uric acid or calcium-containing crystals accumulate in the joints.
- Joint mice are a less common condition in which one or more tiny particles of bone or cartilage break off and float about in the knee joint area.
- Septic arthritis and other infections that induce fluid retention and edema
Knee Injuries that Cause Knee Pain include the following:
Knee injuries may develop gradually over time or occur quickly due to an incident. Ruptured ligaments, torn cartilage, or irritation/inflammation of the knee joint caused by overuse may all result in a knee injury. The following are some examples of particular injuries and conditions that might cause knee pain:
- Irritation and inflammation of the IT band, a thick fascia/tissue that runs from the pelvis/hip to the knee, is known as iliotibial band syndrome.
- Damage to the meniscus, robust, rubbery cartilage that helps absorb stress in the legs may result in a torn meniscus.
- Inflammation of the patellar tendon, which links the kneecap to the shinbone, causes patellar tendonitis.
- Knee bursitis, or inflammation of the bursae (small sacs of fluid that cushion the outside of the knees), is a condition in which the bursae (little sacs of fluid) cushion the outside of the knees become inflamed.
- Chondromalacia patella is a condition in which the cartilage under the kneecap is destroyed.
- Both acute and non-traumatic injuries typically damage the ACL (the anterior cruciate ligament that links the shinbone to the thigh bone).
- Patella (kneecap) fractures may be caused by trauma or degenerative illnesses.
- When the patella falls out of its natural position, it is called a dislocated kneecap.
Factors that Increase Your Chances of Knee Pain
What health problems, workouts, and lifestyle choices put you at risk for knee pain? These may include the following:
- Skiing, football, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, or rugby are all contact or dangerous sports that might result in a collision, impact, or fall.
- Being a distance/endurance runner or cyclist might result in knee overuse. Performing many leaping or going up and downhill puts additional pressure on the knees. Knee discomfort may be triggered by something as simple as recreational jogging or a regular workout.
- Being a female athlete is a unique experience. Unfortunately, female athletes are more likely to sustain catastrophic knee injuries and suffer from chronic knee discomfort. This is thought to be owing to the architecture of the female pelvic area and the way women engage their leg muscles.
- Twisting movements at the knee while bearing weight, such as during exercise or if you have physically demanding work that requires lifting.
- Inadequate rest between workouts and poor training technique and posture, including abrupt changes in the volume, frequency, or intensity of exercises.
- To be involved in an accident, such as a car accident.
- Falling or stumbling due to a lack of balance as one becomes older.
- Osteoporosis increases the risk of knee fractures and weaker pelvic and leg bones.
- To be diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, particularly rheumatoid arthritis.
- Experiencing hip or foot discomfort might result in compensatory movements that place harmful stresses on the knees.
- Being overweight or obese puts additional strain on the knees.
- Sedentary behavior (not exercising, walking, or stretching often) may lead to leg weakness and flexibility loss.
- To have previously had a knee or leg injury.
Diagnosis of Knee Pain
Your doctor (such as an orthopedist) will need to undertake a physical exam and assess how you react to various leg motions to diagnose you with a particular kind of knee pain. For example, if your discomfort worsens when you move your knee in one way or when you execute an action like standing up, it might indicate which area of your knee is injured or inflamed. You may require X-rays, a CT scan, or maybe an MRI or ultrasound to confirm a diagnosis.
It would help if you told your doctor about the precise symptoms you’re having when they began and what sorts of items help you feel better (taking rest days, stretching, etc.) Also, keep an eye on if your knee hurts while you’re sitting, exercising, or simply going about your daily routine. For example, is your damaged knee bothering you throughout the day? Is it bothering you while you’re sleeping? Is it simply an issue while you’re carrying your weight uphill, running, or walking? All of these are important topics to bring up with your doctor.
When discussing your symptoms and treatment choices with your doctor, keep the following in mind:
- Patellofemoral syndrome is characterized by discomfort in the front of the knee (behind the kneecap). The discomfort is caused by improper patella tracking. Going from a standing to a sitting posture is likely to cause discomfort. When you initially start moving, you may find that the pain is stronger, but after you’ve warmed up and begun exercising, the knee discomfort will subside.
- How can you tell if the meniscus in your knee is torn? You’ll probably have trouble walking, have a restricted range of motion, and be swollen and stiff. It will be quite uncomfortable to twist and rotate your knee. You won’t be able to extend your knee or bear weight completely.
- The ACL is the first ligament to tighten when the knee is straightened, and it may tear if the knee is hyperextended or when the knee is suddenly stopped, jumped, or changed direction during physical exercise. With a damaged ACL, where does your knee hurt? It may ache all over, seem puffy, and make you feel weak. You may find it difficult to bend and straighten your knee, walk downhill, or change directions, and your knee may give out quickly. When an ACL is torn, some individuals hear a “pop” and subsequently experience excruciating agony.
Treatments in the Past
The New ReGeneration Orthopedics of Florida’s Ron Torrance II, D.O., a Sports Medicine Trained Physician, says he frequently sees knee pain-related conditions among his younger patients who are generally fit — especially runners, female athletes, and anyone who uses their legs in other repetitive ways.
Dr. Torrance believes that one component of treating knee pain that is frequently ignored is the necessity for varied therapies based on one’s current fitness level. A young lady with knee discomfort after many months of jogging, for example, would benefit from a quite different therapeutic strategy than an elderly guy with osteoarthritis of the knees.
Dr. Torrance examines his patients’ symptoms before discussing their lifestyle and workout habits for treating knee pain problems. Treatment for knee pain should always be based on the precise area of the knee that has been damaged and the underlying cause of the pain. Even if drugs and corrective devices such as knee braces are required to manage knee discomfort, functional medicine techniques such as exercises, stretching, and other functional medicine practices should be included to aid healing and injury prevention.
Traditional therapies for persistent knee discomfort that lasts longer than a few weeks, apart from resting the knee after an acute injury, include:
- The injured knee should be compressed, iced, and elevated.
- Physical treatment and particular exercises are recommended (more on these below)
- If necessary, orthotics or a knee brace might be used.
- Pain relievers
- Steroids, such as an injection, are used to decrease inflammation; hyaluronic acid is used to lubricate and relieve swelling in the knee.
- PRP includes injecting various growth factors into the injured region to decrease inflammation and promote natural healing processes; PRP involves injecting different growth factors into the damaged area to reduce inflammation and promote natural healing processes.
- Surgery may be necessary to assist in healing a tear if someone is suffering persistent knee pain that does not improve with other therapies; nevertheless, surgery is considered a last resort choice.
6 Natural Prevention Treatments
1. Exercising and Allowing Enough Time to Recover
Two of the most common concerns connected with knee injuries are weak muscles and stiffness. While exercise is vital for maintaining the health of your knees, you must also relax and allow your body to recuperate. To recover an injured knee, some individuals may need to stop doing most exercises for many weeks or at the very least minimize high-impact activities. Before resorting to more harsh measures, consider whether taking a few days off from your regular workouts helps. If you see benefits after a rest period, you should aim to reduce your mileage/workout duration when you return.
Warm-up and stretch softly before exercising to avoid injury. Walk a quarter- to half-mile before you start jogging, riding, or any other knee-bending activity. After your workout, stretch again and let yourself at least 1–2 days to fully recuperate (especially after intense workouts).
Low-impact activities are recommended for persons with chronic knee discomfort or other joint issues. Low-impact exercises include the following:
- Water aerobics is a kind of aerobics that takes place
- A brisk stroll
- Exercise on the elliptical
These activities, on the other hand, might have a harmful influence on the knees and should be avoided if you have knee problems:
- Biking at a high level
- Sports with a high level of effect
2. Physical Therapy
It’s a good idea to work with a physical therapist, trainer, or coach who can assist you with conditioning and rehabilitation if you’ve suffered weakness or loss of flexibility in your knees or other restrictions that impact your ability to move. A therapist (such as a neurokinetic therapist) can help you progressively improve lower-body strength while working on good techniques to lessen your risk of future accidents. A gait analysis may help with pronation difficulties and other postural disorders.
Quadriceps, hamstrings, lower back, and hip strengthening exercises may support the knees. Balance and stability exercises, in addition to strengthening and stretching, assist in teaching the muscles in your legs to operate together. This may help lower the chances of falling and develop compensatory behaviors that harm the knees. After exercising your knee, your therapist may prescribe utilizing both cold and heat therapies, such as ice packs or a warm compress applied to the problematic region, to relieve discomfort and assist recovery.
3. Comfortable shoes, insoles, and, if necessary, a knee brace
Sandals, flip flops, CrocsTM, boat shoes, high heels, and boots should all be avoided by those with knee discomfort. These shoes aren’t particularly supportive, and they may make knee, back, and hip problems worse.
If you’re experiencing knee discomfort when training and believe your shoes are to blame, go to a running shop and chat with an expert about your individual stance, stride, and demands. A free, basic test may be performed on your foot to determine which sorts of shoes are ideal for your posture and stride. You may also get personalized insoles from a podiatrist (a doctor specializing in treating foot-related issues).
Like Dr. Ron Torrance, certain physicians advocate Superfeet insoles, an over-the-counter insole alternative that may be acquired online. Unlike other over-the-counter insoles that are cushiony but not as solid, these insoles are strong and support the knees. Unfortunately, soft insoles aren’t always as beneficial for certain individuals since they don’t aid with ankle or knee stabilization, worsening knee discomfort.
4. Rolling in Foam
Foam rolling is an excellent way to break up adhesions in the legs, which may cause knee discomfort. Foam rolling the quadriceps and IT bands, particularly if you’re a runner or an ardent exerciser, is recommended by Dr. Torrance to aid with knee pain alleviation. Other muscles that support the knees, such as the gluteus maximus (the biggest muscle in the buttocks) and the tensor fasciae latae, may also be massaged using a foam roller (a muscle that runs along the outer edge of the hip).
You can use either a soft or a firm foam roller, although some individuals with discomfort find that using a soft roller is easier to handle, particularly when they first start foam rolling. If you encounter a spot that aches a lot when rolling, sit there for a few minutes and allow the muscular tension to start to relax up. This will be unpleasant at first, but it should become less so as you relax up the tight region. It’s important to remember that you should never use a foam roller to roll over a big joint like the knee since doing so might result in harm.
- Place your foam roller on the floor and lay down on your stomach with the front of one thigh over the foam roller and the other leg on the floor for support to foam roll your quads. In an up and down motion, roll the whole front of the thigh from the top of the hip to the top of the knee cap. Do this for around 2 minutes per day, preferably.
- Place your foam roller on the floor to foam roll your IT band. Lie down on your side with the outside of your thigh over the foam roller and your other leg in front of you for support. In an up and down motion, roll the whole outside of your leg from your pelvis to your knee. Keep your abdominal firm and your low back in a good position throughout the workout. Do this every day for around 2 minutes.
- Place the back of one thigh on the foam roller and the other leg on the floor for support while foam rolling your hamstrings. Then, in an up and down motion, roll the whole back of your thigh from the bottom of your buttock to your knee. Do this every day for around 2 minutes.
- To foam roll your adductors, lie on your stomach with one leg straight on the floor for support and the inside of the other thigh over the foam roller. Then, for approximately 2 minutes, roll the inside of your thigh from your groin to your knee in a side-to-side motion.
5. Consuming Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Eating a nutrient-dense diet is beneficial to general joint health for many reasons: it helps you maintain a healthy weight (which minimizes joint strain), reduces inflammation, enhances exercise recovery, and reduces your risk of developing arthritis or osteoporosis.
- Leafy greens, carrots, peppers, berries, onions, broccoli, garlic, asparagus, and cabbage are examples of fruits and vegetables strong in vitamin C, sulfur, and antioxidants.
- Wild-caught fish, particularly salmon, are high in omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, grass-fed beef, pasture-raised poultry, fish like sardines or mackerel, fermented dairy products, and eggs are all good protein sources.
- Coconut oil, olive oil, ghee, grass-fed butter, avocado, almonds, and seeds are all excellent sources of healthful fats.
- Drink bone broth or utilize bone broth protein powder.
- Spices and herbs high in antioxidants may be added to your meals.
- Excess sugar, hydrogenated oils (soybean oil, cottonseed oil, even canola oil), refined cereals, flour products, synthetic additives, processed meats, and fast meals should all be avoided.
6. Anti-inflammatory Supplements
Certain herbs and supplements may aid in the reduction of inflammation and the healing of injuries and degenerative disorders.
Top 12 Stretches and Exercises
The sort of knee exercises that will help you recover from knee pain is determined by the underlying reason for your problem. Dr. Torrance has discovered that to achieve the best outcomes from knee pain exercises and stretches, his patients must first determine if they are normally stronger or more flexible.
If your legs are flexible yet weak, you should concentrate on strengthening and activating the proper muscles in your legs to help support your knees (especially your quads). If you’re powerful but also tight, you’ll want to work on your flexibility and mobility. Finally, if you have a painful condition, it’s crucial to improve your strength and range of motion gradually.
Dr. Torrance’s preferred knee strengthening exercises and stretches (that he utilizes to treat his knee pain patients) are listed below:
1. Clam Shells – For younger athletes and girls with weak gluteus medius muscles, this is a terrific workout. It’s also beneficial for those who have flat feet, which cause tension in the ankles that extends to the knees. Begin by resting on your right side, and knees bent, feet and hips stacked. Your feet should be in line with your buttocks, and your shoulders should be stacked. Next, raise your left knee out to the side while maintaining your right knee on the floor, engaging your core, and keeping your feet together. Hold your elevated knee for one second before lowering it and repeating the process. Completing 20 repetitions on each side is a good goal.
2. Quadriceps Sets – The quadriceps are the muscles above the knee that assist govern patella tracking; thus, strengthening them is crucial. Lay on your back and place a rolled-up towel under your injured knee to execute quad sets. Straighten the knee by activating the thigh muscles and holding the contraction for 5 seconds. Next, visualize your knee pressing down into the ground to engage your quad (you can actually see your quad contract if you observe it). 5 seconds later, release and repeat 10 times on each side.
3. Straight Leg Raises – These are also excellent for quad strengthening. Stretch both legs out on the floor while lying on your back. Lift the right leg 6 inches above the floor and hold the contraction for 10 seconds before gently lowering it to the floor and repeating on the opposite side. 5–10 repetitions on each side is a good goal.
4. Single Leg Squats (also known as pistol squats) – Stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Maintain your balance, starting with your left toe hitting the ground and focusing on anything stationary in front of you. Begin by sitting back on your right leg and lifting and extending your left leg in front of you. Lower yourself as far as you can for approximately 5 seconds, then pull yourself back up. On each side, repeat approximately 10 times.
5. Hip Raises (also known as glute bridges) – Lie down on your back with your knees bent. Your knees should be at least hip-width apart, and your heels should be near to your buttocks. Start from your heels and elevate your hips to the ceiling, holding for 5–10 seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat 10–20 times more.
6. Step-Ups – Begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Step up onto the bench or step with your right foot, then follow with your left foot. Return to the starting position with the right foot and alternate feet such that the following one begins with the left foot and so on. Perform 20 repetitions.
7. Backward or forward lunges – Stand with your feet hip-width apart, then take a step backward with your right foot and lunge down, ensuring sure your knee does not extend beyond your ankle. Return to the beginning position by pushing off with your heel—rep on the other side. Do ten reps on each leg. You may accomplish the same thing by stepping forward rather than backward, which is a standard forward lunge.
Bring one shin/knee to the ground and bend the opposite leg, so the knee is directly over the ankle and thigh, parallel to the ground. If you’re uncomfortable, put a blanket beneath your knees or shins. Attempt to reach back with your arm and grip the leg’s on-the-ground foot. Stretch your quad by bringing your heel closer to your thigh. Hold each side for at least 20–30 seconds.
9. Glute Activation – Lie down on your stomach with your knees bent and turned outward to activate your glutes. To compress your buttocks, press your heels together. Your lower back should not be arched. Maintain the isometric contraction for the specified amount of time. Then, rep 10 times more in a row, completing 3 sets every day.
10. Wrap a mini-band around your legs just above your knees and do a side step with it. Bend your knees just enough to put them over your toes and turn your feet out slightly. Maintain a straight back and a small bend in your hips. Make sure your knees are in line with your feet. Sidestep slowly while keeping the legs’ half-squat and modest external rotation in this posture. Step in one way, then return to work on the other side. Perform 10 repetitions in a row, building up to 3 sets each day.
11. Yoga Exercises – Dr. Torrance suggests benefit-rich yoga to his knee-pain patients since it helps stretch and strengthen practically every portion of the legs. Child’s pose, hero’s pose, low lunge, crescent lunge, warrior 1, warrior 2, and eagle pose are some of the greatest yoga positions for knee discomfort (where one leg is crossed over the other).
When should you consult a doctor if you’re having knee pain? If you have a lot of swelling that won’t go away, can’t extend or bend your knee, or are having trouble moving about and doing your typical activities, see your doctor, physical therapist, or orthopedist.
If you’ve ever had a knee injury, you’re more likely to have it again in the future, particularly if you never had treatment and completely healed. So to reduce the intensity of any activity that causes discomfort, allow time to recuperate from strenuous exercises, and get your knee checked if symptoms linger longer than two weeks.
- Knee discomfort is a prevalent complaint among both young athletes and senior citizens. Throbbing, discomfort, stiffness, swelling, lack of flexibility, and weakness in the legs indicate knee pain.
- Injuries, arthritis, obesity, repeated motions, overtraining, and inflammation from chronic illness or harmful lifestyle behaviors may all be underlying causes of knee discomfort.
- Physical therapy, steroids, pain relievers, knee braces, shoe insoles, and surgery are popular knee discomfort treatments.
- Exercises, stretches, lowering inflammation caused by an underlying illness, exercising/recovering correctly, keeping a healthy weight, foam rolling, and wearing supportive shoes are all-natural therapies for knee discomfort.
Frequently Asked Questions
What causes knee pain?
A: Knee pain can be caused by many different things. If you suspect your knee is suffering from a condition, it is best to visit an orthopedist and diagnose the issue for you. They will most likely need X-rays of your knee before they can make any conclusions or provide treatment plans.
What is the fastest way to cure knee pain?
A: The fastest way to cure knee pain is by using a heating pad on the affected area.
How can I get permanent relief from knee pain?
A: The best way to get permanent relief from knee pain is through surgery. However, if you cannot afford it or are in too much pain for the surgery, then you should consider physical therapy as a solution.
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