According to the CDC, over 15 million Americans suffer from severe joint pain related to arthritis. In older adults, ligament tears or osteoarthritis are the most common causes of chronic knee pain.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint and the most common type of arthritis. Your joints, including your knees, are covered with protective cartilage. They also contain synovial fluid that lubricates the joint. When OA occurs, both the cartilage and synovial fluid are worn down and are diminished, making you more prone to soreness, stiffness, cracking sounds, and possibly swelling.
Tips to Relieve Knee Pain
Chronic joint pain can impact everyday living activities, decreasing one’s quality of life. Dressing, cleaning, and other normal activities can become much harder. As challenging as it is to live with chronic knee pain, minor lifestyle changes can be implemented in your daily routine to improve and maintain your quality of life.
It may seem like exercise could exacerbate the pain, but in reality, the right type of exercise is great for your joints. The CDC recommends moderate physical activity such as walking, swimming, and biking for at least 150 minutes a week. Low impact activity is best, so avoid running which may worsen your knee pain.
Starting an exercise routine can be as easy as 30 minutes of exercise a day or can also be split up in 10-minute sessions. These aerobic exercises will strengthen your muscles and bones to keep your joints flexible. They’ll also naturally lubricate your joints, reducing and preventing further pain.
Manage your Weight/Eat a Balanced Diet
With every step, your knees bear about 1.5 times your body weight. This immense pressure can absolutely cause more pain to your knees. If weight is an issue for you, then eating a balanced diet is beneficial for chronic joint pain and overall health.
Inflammation is a culprit of pain, so try to avoid red meat, fried foods, refined carbs, and soda as much as possible. Instead choose foods containing vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids, fruits and vegetables. Tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, almonds, oranges, and berries are examples of foods demonstrated to significantly lower inflammation markers in people.
Make a Shoe Switch!
Rehabilitation and reducing inflammation are going to be the main factors in alleviating symptoms. However, having good foot support during activities is also going to reduce strain on your knees. Changing footwear is a simple switch that can be a significant improvement to your chronic knee pain. Given the variety of shoe brands nowadays, it’s easy to find a shoe that will give you the right support and reduce the force exerted on your joints.
Ice, Ice Baby!
Ice helps reduce swelling in the joints. Use RICE (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate) as needed to help with flare-ups. Ice the area for 20 minutes at a time about 4 times a day and compress the area with an ace bandage to help reduce swelling.
Using hot packs or warm baths in between cold treatments increases blood flow and can ease pain and stiffness in the joints. This can also be done about 4 times a day. Alternating between cold and hot treatments can help on days when your knees are more painful than usual.
To learn more about how you can manage chronic knee pain and how we can help to treat it, call us at (214) 855-7750 today!