We spoke about the different causes for knee pain and when to seek medical attention. Now, let’s talk about some of the things we can do for knee pain. Remember to always have a dialogue with your physician first. Listen to your body before deciding on the next steps.
SIMPLE MEASURES FOR KNEE PAIN
- Avoid tasks that involve kneeling or squatting for several hours, lifting heavy objects, excessive climbing stairs or prolonged walking!
- Scale back on engaging in sports that require repetitive direct impact on the knee joints. Such as basketball, soccer, or excessive running. Participating in cycling, swimming or the elliptical machine for up to 15 minutes a day may be a better alternative to these high impact sports. This may be difficult to do for some of us but it may be time to try that Soul cycle or Fly Wheel class!!
- Keeping the knee relaxed and avoiding over extension may also help with knee pain.
- Sometimes massaging the knees by slowly rotating the knee cap or patellae can be beneficial.
If the pain is due to an overuse syndrome or an acute injury, try resting the joint first for a few days to weeks. Avoid the activity that aggravates your knee pain. I would reccomend heat and ice to decrease the inflammation and swelling.
REMEMBER RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation
SHEDDING THOSE POUNDS MAY HELP IMPROVE KNEE PAIN
Being overweight imposes a risk of developing knee osteoarthritis or a ligament/cartilage injury therefore weight loss and lifestyle modification is necessary. For every pound that an individual is overweight, additional excess weight and force is applied to the knee joint.
Diet is a crucial component of reducing the risk of osteoarthritis which can cause knee pain!
- Try incorporating an anti-inflammatory diet focused on avoiding or limiting foods that promote inflammation like saturated fat, trans fat and simple refined carbohydrates into your diet.
- Highly processed foods and foods that have high sugar content like red meat, sugary sodas, pasta, candy, and high fat processed meats like bacon are not your buddies. Try limiting these foods.
- There are foods which may aid in fighting inflammation. These foods may include vitamin C, selenium, carotenes, bioflavonoids, extra virgin olive oil, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Why do I love omega-3 fatty acids?
Some individuals love to incorporate the omega -3 fatty acids into their diets since it is a healthy polyunsaturated fat. These fatty acids may help suppress inflammation by blocking the production of chemicals that can eat away at the cartilage in osteoarthritis. The anti-inflammatory effects can result in less joint stiffness, tenderness and pain in some people. You can find the omega-3 fatty acids in these foods
As I mentioned previously, the incidence of gout can also be decreased by avoiding foods that are rich in purines which can be converted to uric acid. Cutting down on the red meat, shellfish, and beer may help with decreasing the incidence of a gout attack. So consider trying that chicken or quinoa dish when you are dining out again.
What about medications?
Over the counter pain medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be taken to improve symptoms. Nonsteroid anti-inflammatory medications(NSAIDS), such as Naproxen, Ibruprofen, Celecoxib,Meloxicam can also be used to aid with the pain and inflammation for osteoarthritis, tendonitis, or bursitis. These medications do have side effects so you MUST consult with your physician about the risks and benefits and have a discussion on how these medications affect underlying medical conditions, especially diabetes, kidney disease, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Remember that all knee pain is not treated the same way and that every individual is different with his or her own personal medical history. Have a discussion with you physician about what is the right path for you!