If you’re neither romantic nor listen to R&B group Boyz II Men, yet you’ve been down on bended knee lately – we kneed to talk.
Knee pain affects about 25 percent of adults and is one of the most common complaints of Americans of all ages. Although age is a risk factor for knee pain, it can still affect anyone no matter the age or ethnic background.
The knee is a major joint, and is in fact the biggest and the most complex joint in our body. Because of this, it is most likely to be injured than any other joint. It is also because of this that most people are under the wrong impression that surgery is the answer to their knee problems.
Well, prevention is key, and if it isn’t evident yet, we like taking away people’s pain. So we present to you some tried and tested ways to reduce knee pain.
First, is your knee pain serious?
Let it be clear that this article talks about pain-relieving methods for minor knee pains. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately:
- You cannot bear weight on your painful knee
- You feel like the injured knee will give out
- You are unable to fully extend or flex your knee
- You see a very obvious deformity in your leg and knee
- On top of your knee being painful, swollen and red, you also have a fever
- Your severe knee pain is associated with an injury
- Knee swelling has been around longer than three days
Here are 8 tried and tested ways to reduce knee pain and swelling:
1. Use the RICE method
This is the best way to treat a swollen knee at home. Use this especially when you have just injured or hurt your knee.
R – Rest – Before anything else, rest the affected knee. Stop moving or putting weight on it. Avoid any physically strenuous activities for 24 hours. In order to maintain the knee’s range of motion, try to gently flex and straighten the knee multiple times a day.
I – Ice – Especially if the injury was recent (within the last 48 hours), ice or a cold compress will help reduce swelling around the injury. Apply ice on the affected knee for 15–20 minutes at a time, every two to four hours on the first two or three days after the injury.
A knee ice pack that works as both cold and compression therapy is recommended for this step as it is flexible when frozen, so it will contour around your knees comfortably. The straps will ensure that you can still be mobile and hands-free.
C – Compress – Knee ice packs that work as cold compress and compression therapy are your best bet for this. Applying pressure to the affected area will help reduce swelling by restricting the flow of blood and other fluids.
If you do not have a knee pack that works as a compression, you can use an elastic bandage.
E – Elevate – To alleviate inflammation and swelling, elevate the affected leg so you restrict blood flow to the knee. You can do this lying down, with the affected knee propped up by pillows or cushions.
When the RICE method is done vigilantly and carefully, swelling should go down in one to three days.
This is the biggest and most effective way to prevent knee pain and further injuries. In order to lessen knee injuries, you must strengthen the muscles around the knee so that they can help the knee take the pressure and weight of the body. It’s important to combine cardio exercises with weight training and stretching. When you do a combination of these exercises as part of your exercise routine, you will not only strengthen the muscles, but also increase flexibility. For cardio exercises, try low-impact activities like swimming and cycling.
In some cases, swelling can be reduced through remedial massage. Massaging the knee may help drain the fluid from the joint. You can self-massage your knee (please read carefully before doing it yourself), or you can go to a therapist trained in lymphatic drainage massage.
4. Wear comfortable footwear
Looking good may have its short-lived perks, but it can result in long-lived agony. The wrong footwear can be the cause of your knee pain. Shoes alter the position of the feet, which can increase the amount of pressure inside the knee joint when you walk.
A study done by Chicago’s Rush University found that wearing heels higher than 2 inches can increase the risk of having joint degeneration and knee osteoarthritis. They found that footwear that is stable and comfortable like athletic shoes and sneakers works best.
5. Anti-inflammatory medicine
If the pain is already affecting your day-to-day schedule and activities, you may need over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium, which may help subside knee pain. For some who do not wish to have to intake drugs, non-prescription topical ones like diclofenac (Voltaren) can be used to relieve pain from joints such as the knee.
6. Keep the body weight off
The number one culprit of joint pain is being overweight. The excess weight puts additional stress on weight-bearing joints like the knees. Weight gain also causes inflammation and swelling of the joints, which can result in immobility and discomfort. The link between weight loss and knee pain is quite undeniable. According to this study, for people with a healthy weight (BMI 18.5-35), only 3.7 percent in that group have osteoarthritis of the knee. Whereas for those with grade 2 obesity (BMI 35-39.9), it affects 19.5 percent in that population. Each pound that a person loses reduces the load on their knee joint by 4 lbs or 1.81 kg. Lighten your load and lessen your injuries!
7. Use a band or compression sleeve
If you’re still feeling discomfort in the knee but you’re overall strong enough to go about your daily and usual habits, wrapping a band or compression sleeve around the affected knee will help. Keep this on as extra support to the knee as you go about your day. If you already have a knee ice pack with compression, skip the freezing part and you can use it just as a regular compression.
8. Make your surroundings safe
If you’ve already had a history of painful knees, don’t risk a fall by making sure the place you live in is safe. Make sure your home or room is well lit, use handrails on staircases – install them if you need to – and even on places where you might normally not need it, like hallways. Pad sharp corners where your knee could likely bump or knock into. Use a ladder or step stool if you need to reach high places.
We hope our eight simple, but tried-and-tested methods will help you reduce knee pain and swelling. If you’re experiencing pain in your knees and have questions, do get in touch with us!