Solutions for Knee Pain associated with knee arthritis

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Photo courtesy of nSeika(CC Attribution)

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. Here’s how to get a leg up on the pain of knee arthritis.

Ice

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.

Smart Exercise 

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. Better bets: walking, bicycling, and “closed kinetic chain” exercises, in which the foot stays planted (like on an elliptical trainer). (Keep moving with these 11 workout tips for achy joints.)

Healing Foods

They go straight to your knees. Drinking 1% or fat-free milk helped women put the brakes on kneeosteoarthritis 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.

Weight Loss

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. (Get the scale moving with these 15 small changes for weight loss.)

“Data suggest that the prevalence of arthritis increases with age and that people with higher body mass indexes (BMIs) have a greater chance of developing arthritis in the knee,” he explained. “A significant portion of people in the 50- to 70-year-old baby boomer range have BMIs that are greater than 30, which is outside the healthy range. Evidence shows that around 20 percent of those people will develop knee arthritis.”

Injections 

Go right to the source of the pain. But not too often. 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.

Knee Replacement

For when all else fails: A surgeon resurfaces the ends of the femur and tibia (upper and lower leg bones) where they meet in the joint and replaces damaged cartilage with metal and plastic implants. It’s the baby/bathwater option for sure, but it could save your stair-climbing career.

Get involved.  The Arthritis Foundation helps people with arthritis live better today and creates better tomorrows by advocating for better access to care and funding the search for new treatments and ultimately a cure. Here are some ways you can help:

  • Become an arthritis advocate. Tell Congress more needs to be done for people with arthritis.
  • Make a donation today. There are many ways to give.
  • Help researchers learn more about arthritis. Join the Arthritis Internet Registry.
  • Support Arthritis Foundation research for a cure. Become a Research Advocate.
  • Find programs in your community.
  • Get involved in your community.
  • Share your opinions, needs and experiences. We want to hear from you. Join the online Arthritis Panel.