9 Best Home Remedies for Knee Pain

If you’re dealing with knee pain, you can try these easy home remedies:

  • Exercise regularly to strengthen your knees.
  • Use a knee support for extra stability.
  • Pay attention to your diet and manage your weight.
  • Consider aromatherapy or CBD oil for additional relief.

Remember, for short-term knee issues, you can often manage on your own without seeing a doctor. In this article, I’ll focus on home remedies for long-term knee pain.

Best Home Remedies for Knee Pain

Treating knee pain depends on what’s causing it. But these simple remedies can often provide relief for many types of knee pain.

1. Stay active

Exercise is really important for keeping our knees healthy, especially when it comes to preventing osteoarthritis (OA), a common cause of knee pain.

The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and the Arthritis Foundation (AF) suggest getting active to help manage OA in the knees. You can try things like walking, biking, swimming, tai chi, or yoga—they’re all good for you.

Being active is great for your cartilage, whether you have OA or not. It helps keep it healthy.

Exercise also makes our joints stronger. Strengthening our leg muscles is particularly good for our knees.

If you have joint pain, activities like water aerobics are a good option. They’re gentle on the knees but still give you a good workout.

2. Lose some weight with healthy diet

Carrying extra weight can put a strain on our knees and make them ache more. If you’re carrying too much weight, losing some of it can really help reduce knee pain in the long run, especially if you have arthritis.

Extra weight can also make inflammation worse, which isn’t good for your knees.

Eating right is key to keeping the pounds off. A healthy diet is one that:

  • Has lots of fruits, veggies, and fiber
  • Keeps meat and fats, especially animal fats, to a minimum

The Arthritis Foundation recommends a Mediterranean-style diet, which is all about fresh, healthy foods.

If you have knee arthritis and you’re carrying extra weight, experts say it’s a good idea to try to lose some pounds. Your doctor or a dietitian can help you figure out how much weight to lose and come up with a diet plan that works for you.

3. Knee patch

Knee patches are designed to deliver pain-relieving medication directly to the site of pain. This localized approach can be more effective for some individuals than systemic pain medications, which affect the entire body.

Different knee patches contain various active ingredients that can provide relief through different mechanisms. For example, lidocaine patches work by blocking nerve signals, while herbal patches may contain anti-inflammatory and analgesic substances.

Knee patches are generally easy to apply and can be worn discreetly under clothing. They offer a convenient option for pain relief that does not interfere with daily activities.

Some knee patches such as Wellnee Pain Relief Patch are designed to provide extended relief, lasting for several hours up to multiple days, which can be particularly beneficial for chronic pain management.

4. Strengthening exercises

Strengthening exercises are important for keeping our knees strong and healthy. If you’re not sure where to start, a physical therapist can help you figure out the best exercises for you.

One key area to focus on is the quadriceps muscles—the big muscles on the front and sides of your thighs. Strengthening these muscles can really help protect your knee joints.

Here are some easy exercises you can try to strengthen your quadriceps:

  • Lie down or sit and straighten one leg, lifting it up.
  • Use a step or platform to do step-ups—just step up with one foot, then the other, and back down again. Repeat!
  • Sit in a chair and stand up, then sit back down again, without using your hands for support. Try doing this for about a minute, and take it slow and steady.
  • Hold onto a chair for support and squat down until your knees are over your toes. Do this about 10 times.

These exercises might sound simple, but they can make a big difference in keeping your knees strong and pain-free.

5. Medications

Medications can be really helpful in easing knee pain caused by arthritis. Some you can get from your doctor, while others you can use at home, with or without a prescription.

Here are some medications that might help:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): You can take these as pills or apply them as a cream directly to your skin.
  • Topical capsaicin: This can also be applied directly to your skin to help with pain.
  • Steroid injections: Your doctor might inject steroids right into your joint to ease the pain and swelling.
  • Tramadol: This is a pain reliever that you can take as a pill.
  • Acetaminophen and duloxetine: These can also help with pain, but they’re not NSAIDs.

Experts don’t usually recommend using opioids, except for tramadol.

You can find some of these medications over-the-counter or buy them online, like ibuprofen and naproxen.

6. Massage

Massage, including self-massage, might help ease knee pain. Here’s a simple massage routine recommended by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA):

  • Tap It Out: Sit with your knees forward and feet flat on the ground. Make loose fists with your hands and gently tap the upper, lower, and middle thigh with both hands, repeating each spot 10 times. Do this three times.
  • Glide Away: With your feet still flat on the floor, place the heel of your hand on the top of your thigh. Glide it down towards your knee and then release. Repeat this motion five times for the top, outer, and inner sides of the thigh.
  • Finger Press: Press four fingers into the tissue around your knee and move them up and down five times. Repeat this around your entire knee.
  • Palm Glide: Place the palm of your hand on top of your thigh, glide it down over your knee, and back up the outer thigh.

Massaging your thigh muscles might bring relief to your knees. Although current guidelines don’t specifically recommend massage as a treatment for knee osteoarthritis due to insufficient evidence, it may still have benefits like stress management.

7. PRICE method

To treat mild knee pain from a soft tissue injury like a sprain, you can use the PRICE method:

  • Protection: Keep the knee safe from more harm, like taking a break from activities that caused the pain.
  • Rest: Give the knee time to heal by avoiding excessive movement. But remember, too much rest can lead to stiffness and weak muscles, so some gentle movement is good.
  • Ice: Apply ice wrapped in a cloth to the knee for 20 minutes several times on the first day to reduce swelling and inflammation. Never apply ice directly to the skin, as it can cause damage.
  • Compression: Using a knee support or bandage can provide comfort. Just make sure it’s snug but not too tight.
  • Elevation: Keep the leg raised to promote circulation and decrease swelling. Ideally, the knee should be above the heart level for best results.

8. Heat and cold

Heat and cold are helpful for easing pain, especially in the lower back and joints affected by arthritis:

  • Heat: It relaxes muscles and boosts lubrication, making stiffness vanish. Try using a hot water bottle or warm pad.
  • Cold: Wrapped in a cloth, ice can lessen pain, swelling, and inflammation.

Some folks find heat helpful in the morning for better mobility and cold beneficial later to reduce swelling. Just be sure to test the temperature of any hot item before applying, especially for older adults or those who might have trouble communicating.

9. Tai Chi

Tai chi, a mindful exercise, offers benefits similar to other forms of exercise.

In a year-long study involving 204 participants with knee osteoarthritis (average age: 60 years), tai chi showed promising results. It might provide even better benefits than standard physical therapy. Both groups saw improvements in their scores over 12 weeks, with ongoing progress.

Tai chi practitioners also experienced significant enhancements in depression symptoms and physical quality of life compared to those undergoing standard therapy.

The American College of Rheumatology and Arthritis Foundation highly recommend tai chi as an exercise option for people with knee osteoarthritis.

When to See a Doctor for Knee Pain

Seek medical help right away if your knee is injured from a fall or accident, or if it’s very painful, swollen, or you can’t use it.

You should also see a doctor if:

  • The pain persists, worsens, or disrupts daily activities
  • Your knee is red, tender, warm, and swollen
  • You have other symptoms like morning stiffness or pain in other joints, which could indicate rheumatoid arthritis

Your knee is extremely hot and painful, especially if you feel generally unwell, as it could be infected.

If you’re already receiving medical care for your knee pain, contact your doctor again if things worsen or if you experience treatment issues like medication side effects.


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