Easy knee pain relief plan

Walking, kneeling, stair schlepping…Knees take abuse. No wonder 20% of us report having had pain in these joints in the past 3 months. Most arises from injuries and osteoarthritis, which are more common with age. Follow our easy-to-hurdle plan to get a leg up on the pain.

Frozen peas pair nicely with swelling and pain. Whether you injure your knee or suffer an arthritis flare-up, ice molded around the joint for 20 minutes each hour brings down inflammation.

Bett er than acetaminophen. If your stomach can take it, pop the drugs (such as ibuprofen) for 10 to 14 days. “That’s more effective than stopping and starting,” says Elizabeth Matzkin, surgical director of women’s musculoskeletal health at Harvard Medical School.

As in, definitely don’t stop working out. Keeping active builds muscles that support the knee joint. Two things to avoid if you have pain: running and doing full leg extensions with a resistance machine. Be er bets: walking, bicycling, and “closed kinetic chain” exercises, in which the foot stays planted (like on an elliptical trainer).

Healing Foods
They go straight to your knees. Drinking 1% or fat-free milk helped women put the brakes on knee osteoarthritis in one study. Other research shows that people who eat fruit with vitamin C show fewer signs of heading toward OA than those who don’t.

Every pound you lose feels like 5 fewer pounds to the knee. Exercise and a healthy diet can each help you lose, but dropping pounds by combining the two is the gold standard for relieving pain and restoring function, according to one recent study.

Some knees respond, some don’t. That’s why the benefit looks statistically nonexistent, on average, in studies. It’s worth a try for 2 to 3 months: That’s when it will help if it’s going to.

Go right to the source of the pain. But not too o ften. Corticosteroids can ease pain by reducing inflammation when injected directly into the joint. They work well but temporarily. In fact, repeated injections may deteriorate cartilage, so doctors usually limit shots to 3 or 4 times a year.

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