As we age, our bodies can’t always keep up with our plans.
This is especially true of the knees, which can fall victim to stiffness,
weakness, or downright pain—even with simple
motions like getting out of bed in the morning.
If your knees are sore,
you’re not alone. Studies show that 19.5% of Americans
struggle with knee pain, and most people tend to experience it seemingly out of
nowhere. Whether your discomfort is caused by an old injury or just years of
natural wear and tear, there are lots of simple things you can do to reduce your knee pain and reclaim your mobility.
Watch your weight
The knee is one of the largest, most complex joints in the
body, and we demand a lot from both. If you’re carrying a few extra pounds,
you’re placing even more stress on your knees—and
that’s a recipe for injury.
If you’re not at your ideal weight, small
changes in your diet and exercise plan can make a huge difference. Losing even
a small amount of weight can go a long way toward relieving the pressure
on your knees and boosting your overall health and happiness.
Speaking of exercise plans, being active is the best way to
keep the muscles that support the knee joint strong and flexible. Try to get some daily cardio
exercise, whether it’s a brisk walk, a swim, stationary cycling, or light
weightlifting. Tai chi and yoga can also improve balance and ease stiffness.
If you're not sure which exercises are safe or how much you
can handle, speak with your doctor or a physical therapist. And if you
do prefer to exercise in a class setting, let the instructor know so they can
adjust your routine accordingly.
Wear the right shoes
Choosing proper footwear is important for everyone, but
especially for those with knee pain. The shoes you wear can impact the load
placed on the knee joints, making your pain better or worse.
Look for styles that have cushioned insoles to reduce stress
on your knees. Athletic shoes are a good option, since they’re designed with
motion control and stability features to control inward rotation of the foot,
lower leg, and knee. Also try to avoid high heels, which studies
show place enough force on the kneecap to lead to significant knee trauma and
High-impact motions or exercises can further damage weak or
painful knees. Avoid joint-jarring exercises like jumping, kickboxing, or
sprinting. You may also want to avoid deep squats or lunging, which can worsen
pain if performed incorrectly.
The RICE method of rest, ice, compression, and elevation is
terrific for knee pain caused by arthritis flare-ups or minor injury. Rest your
knees, reduce swelling by applying ice for 20 minutes, wear a compression bandage, and keep your knee elevated.
If you injure your knee, the first 48 to 72 hours are
crucial to your recovery. Use a cold pack for 15 to 20 minutes four times per
day to ease swelling and numb pain. Then you can switch those cold pack
sessions out for heat by using
a heating pad, warm towel, or soothing bath.
Consider a walking aid
Don’t shy away from using a cane or crutch to support you if
you really need one. You can also consider wearing knee splints or braces to
strengthen your stride. It might take a little while to adjust, but your
knees will thank you.
lasting relief with alternative therapies
If you’ve tried everything
and your knees still hurt, stem cell therapy can be an effective, minimally invasive alternative to
traditional surgery in many cases.
healing process, adult stem cells are often able to renew the injured knee
area, increase blood flow, and release growth factors needed to repair and
regenerate tissues. Best of all, stem cell therapy is an outpatient procedure with a much shorter
recovery time than surgery. Patients often return to work the very next day,
and many report a noticeable improvement after just one session.
To find out if stem cell therapy is right for