The knee joint is particularly vulnerable to damage and pain because it takes the full weight of your body and any extra force when you run or jump. Knee pain can be caused by a sudden injury, an overuse injury, or by an underlying condition, such as arthritis. This article summarizes some home remedies and knee exercises for a quick rehabilitation.
Home remedies for relief of knee pain
One of the most common ways to treat a knee injury is called PRICE therapy, which means:
Protection: Protect the affected area from further injury by using a support.
Rest: Rest the joint, and take a break from your usual activities involving the knee joint.
Ice: Apply ice to help with pain and inflammation.
Compression: A compression knee brace can help prevent swelling and help knee alignment. It should not be too tight and should be removed at night.
Elevation: Elevation can help with swelling and resting of the knee.
Furthermore, anti-inflammatory medication like Advil is also often prescribed to reduce inflammation which helps speed up healing.
Knee Exercises to Help Prevent More Injuries
Once your doctor says it’s ok, you should start doing knee exercises to strengthen the muscles that support your knee and keep them flexible. Start slowly, and build up over time. Here’s a few good ones:
- Warm Up
You can ride a stationary bike for about 5 minutes then take a 2-minute walk. Doing this will help you get more out of your workout, prepare you to stretch, and lower your risk of an injury.
- Leg stretch
Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front. Keeping your foot to the floor, slowly bend one knee until you feel it being comfortably stretched. Hold for 5 seconds. Straighten your leg as far as you can and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times with each leg.
- Straight Leg Raises
If your knee’s not at its best, start with a simple strengthening exercise for your quadriceps, the muscles in the front of the thigh. This move puts little to no strain on the knee. Lie on your back on the floor or another flat surface. Bend one knee and place your foot flat on the floor. Keeping the other leg straight, raise it to the height of the opposite knee. Repeat 10-15 times for three sets.
Place one foot on a step bench, platform, or the lowest step on a staircase. Keeping your pelvis level, bend your knee and slowly lower the opposite foot to the floor. Lightly tough your toe to the floor, then rise back up. Repeat 10-15 times, then switch legs.
- Hamstring Curls
These are the muscles along the back of your thigh. Lie flat on your stomach. Slowly bring your heels as close to your butt as you can, and hold that position. Do three sets of 15. You can also do this exercise standing while you hold onto a chair and lift one leg at a time. If this becomes easy, you can add ankle weights, slowly increasing the weight from 1 to 3 to 5 pounds.
- Wall Squats
This is a more-advanced knee exercise. You’ll keep your feet on the floor. Stand with your back against a wall, your feet about shoulder-width apart. Slowly bend your knees, and keep your back and pelvis against the wall. Hold for 5-10 seconds. Don’t bend too deeply. If you feel pressure or discomfort in your knees, adjust your position. Repeat the exercise, and try to hold the sit position a few seconds longer each time.
- Leg Presses
This is also a more-advanced knee exercise. Sit on a leg-press machine with your back and head against the support and your feet flat on the foot plate. Adjust the seat back so it’s comfortable. Slowly push the plate away from you until your legs are extended. Bend your knees and return to you starting position. Do three sets of 10-15 reps. (Ask a gym staff member for assistance the first time you do this. )
Knee exercises should never cause pain or make it worse. Remember: Muscle soreness after a hard workout is normal. But sharp, shooting, or sudden pain in the muscles or joints means you should stop and check with your doctor.