Whether it’s from an injury or just typical aches and pains, knee pain can put a hamper on your everyday life, even your usual movements. Hurting knees can make it hard to walk, go up stairs, exercise, or run errands.
There are a few ways for seniors to relieve knee pain and take care of their knees to help alleviate pain and prevent further knee and leg pain from putting a damper on the physical activities you enjoy as well as everyday movements.
10 Options for Knee Pain Relief
1.Rest Your Knee
You may have arthritis in the knee or have an old injury flaring up. Either way, being on your feet for long periods of time isn’t doing you any favors.
Take a load off and rest your knee a bit. While you’re resting, make sure your knee is elevated so the blood can circulate properly.
Doctors say even though it’s tempting to stay off your aching knee for a long time, avoid resting your knee too much. It’s best to try to maintain normal activity but take periods to rest as you need to.
Don’t overdo it, but don’t indulge in too much rest. If you avoid movement altogether, this can actually increase your knee pain, which is the last thing you want.
Be mindful of what your body is telling you. You’ll know when it’s time to rest.
2. Use Compression
Most doctors will recommend compression for a wide variety of purposes, including knee pain. You may find that wrapping your affected knee or knees or using a special knee brace can help take some of the pressure off your knee when walking or standing.
When you are looking for the right brace, make sure the brace fits your knee in order to offer maximum support, but it shouldn’t be too tight. A brace that is too tight will only contribute to even more knee pain.
You can wear a brace or support bandage as often as you like. You can even sleep in it if it helps you. These are typically made of soft, comfortable fabric that is firm but not painful.
To maximize the use of a brace or other compression item, make sure and elevate your knee while you are wearing the brace. Keep the knee above heart level to make sure circulation happens the way it’s supposed to.
Elevating your knee can also help reduce swelling if that’s an issue with your knee pain.
3. Try Ice
Take an ice pack and apply it to your affected knee in order to reduce pain, and therefore, improve swelling. If you don’t have an ice pack, wrap a bag of frozen vegetables with a wash cloth or hand towel.
Apply the ice in 20-minute increments throughout the day. Combine ice treatment with elevation and rest to get the best results.
Some people like to combine heat treatment with ice treatment for best results. You may find that applying a heating pad in the morning will get your knee going faster than ice. A hot water bottle will work, too.
However, icing your knee in the afternoon or evening may be just what your knee needs after being on your feet. Always use 20-minute increments when applying heat or ice.
Experiment to see which kind of treatment works best for you, and change them out as needed in order to get the best benefits.
4. Take an Anti-Inflammatory
When you’re in a lot of pain, turn to anti-inflammatories to help reduce swelling and provide pain relief. You don’t need to be a hero. Many of us need medication to help get through the day, especially when aches and pains are trying to slow you down.
There are special arthritis formulas of medication like Tylenol that have the correct number of milligrams to fight this type of pain. Other types of medication to take include ibuprofen or naproxen.
If you have to go to the doctor, he or she will likely prescribe something like Mobic. Another option for muscle pain is to try a mild muscle relaxer. This could help relax your knees and allow you to rest without the throbbing pain.
Typically, the best way to lessen pain is by combining more than one treatment. Taking medication along with using ice or heat while you elevate your knee will likely provide the best benefits.
5. Move a Little
Not moving at all can cause muscles to freeze up and make pain even more pronounced. Instead of avoiding movement altogether, take it easy.
Some movement will help keep your joints limber and can help reduce pain, even if you don’t feel like exercising. That being said, you’re not going to be going for a run anytime soon.
However, focusing on low-impact exercise is a great way for you to move your body without the risk of further injury or pain.
Some good exercises to consider include swimming, yoga, light stretching, or taking a short walk. Don’t do anything high-impact or anything that puts strain on your knees.
You could even count an afternoon of gardening as light movement. Don’t overexert yourself and don’t spend too much time on your feet.
Once you’re done, come home and elevate your knee, ice it, and rest for a bit.
6. Change Your Diet
You may not have connected it, but your weight plays a large part in how your knees feel. That’s because if you are overweight, that extra weight is putting a strain on your joints, especially your knees.
When you lose weight, that added stress on your knees is lightened, and you’ll feel less pain. Take a look at your diet and exercise habits and consider shedding some unwanted pounds.
This is not only a great way for you to live a healthy life, but a lot of health issues can be combatted by simply losing weight. Talk to your doctor about the best and most healthy way for you to lose a few pounds in order to take some of the stress off your knees and other joints.
Once you lose weight, you’ll reap the numerous benefits of fewer pounds along with lower cholesterol and blood pressure and more energy.
7. Move Where It’s Warm
Did you know that where you live can play a big part in your health? It seems as though seniors who live in colder climates experience more frequent pain flares.
You may have found that your arthritis feels worse in the winter, or you feel that throbbing pain when it’s cold and rainy.
Though there isn’t much science to prove this, many people who suffer from pain attest to it.
So, you may benefit from living in a warmer, more comfortable year-round climate, especially if you suffer from arthritis, osteoarthritis, or any number of bone and joint illnesses that contribute to pain and stiffness on a regular basis.
Consider this as well: if it’s warmer outside more often, you may find yourself being more active on a daily basis, which can also stave off aches and pains, so it’s a win-win situation!
8. Get New Shoes
You probably haven’t thought much about wearing the wrong shoes. But did you know that your shoes can be making your knees hurt even more?
If you have knee, leg, or ankle pain, it’s best to always wear shoes with supportive arches. If your favorite pair of shoes doesn’t, you can purchase an arch support, such as one from Dr. Scholl’s and insert it into your shoe.
Shoes that don’t support your feet can not only make your feet hurt, but make your knees hurt too. They can also contribute to poor posture, which puts excess strain on your knees and causes more pain.
It goes without saying that women should kick heels to the curb in favor of more supportive and sensible shoe styles.
Heels and shoes without any support or that put your feet in unnatural positions can cause long-term issues for your body, straining your joints and muscles.
9. Watch Your Habits
It’s hard to make changes in your life but sometimes it’s necessary. Do you ever feel particularly achy and stiff when you get up from your desk?
Sitting for long periods of time can make your joints feel stiff and contribute to pain and even swelling. If you have to sit for long periods, take a break every hour and stretch or walk around.
While you’re sitting, take inventory of your chair and desk. Are you sitting up straight and not slouching? Does your chair offer back support? Is it too low or too high for your desk?
Creating an ergonomic space whether you’re sitting at your desk or table can ensure you sit properly while you are sitting, and this can alleviate a world of muscle and joint aches and pains.
Set a timer and make yourself get up and stretch or head for a glass of water each hour.
10. Try Supplements
If you don’t have supplements in your diet, now is the time to add some. There are specific supplements that can help with joint and muscle aches and pains.
The great thing about supplements is that they’re natural, and most do not cause any harmful side effects.
Some recommended supplements for knee pain and inflammation include glucosamine and chondroitin. These are safe to take and can be purchased over the counter. These can be combined with over-the-counter pain relief medications to provide further ease of symptoms.
Omega-3 supplements are also recommended for pain, aches, and stiffness in joints.
You can try Vitamin D, too. Don’t expect immediate results from natural supplements – it can take a few months for noticeable results to kick in, so don’t give up on them too soon if nothing happens within a couple of weeks.
Of course, it’s always wise to check with your doctor before you start taking any new medications, even if they’re just supplements.