How to Keep Your Knees Pain-Free
These 9 tips help you reduce the risk of experiencing pain or stiffness in your knees.
Your knees undergo a lot of wear and tear each and every day. After all, they are the largest joints in your body and are called into action with each step you take. Knee pain can keep you from doing the things you love and can impact your quality of life. But there's no reason you should have to live with pain, inflammation and stiffness.
Here are 9 ways to be good to your knees so they're less likely to cause you pain:
- Lose weight. When you walk, the force on your knees is about three or four times your body weight. So it stands to reason that the more weight you carry, the higher the force on your knees. Losing weight lowers the stress placed on the knee, making it less likely you'll feel pain in this joint.
- Strengthen the muscles around the knee. When the muscles surrounding the knee are strong, they offer more support for the joint. Strengthen the quadriceps and hamstrings and you're less likely to experience knee pain. Also perform stretching exercises to keep the muscles and joint flexible.
- Move more. You may think doing more physical activity would cause more pain in your knee, but the opposite is true. Engaging in low-impact activities, like walking, swimming, cycling or yoga, is more likely to keep your knee free from pain than if you are sedentary.
- Don't overtrain. Some exercise is good, but too much is not so good. When you overtrain, you put excessive stress on your knee joint and surrounding muscles. This makes you more prone to injury, strain and pain.
- Wear the right shoes. When your feet are well-supported and your shoes are comfortable, it promotes proper foot alignment. And when your feet are in proper alignment, it puts less stress on your knees. Walking properly helps ease knee pain.
- Practice good posture. Just as the alignment of your feet can affect your knees, so too can the alignment of your spine. Keep your head directly above your shoulders and your shoulders directly above your core. Slouching or bending at the waist puts added pressure on your knees.
- Protect your knees. If you play contact sports or are engaged in activities with a higher chance of falling, such as skateboarding or rollerblading, wear knee pads to keep knees protected. Also wear knee pads or rest knees on a cushioned pad if you are kneeling for a long time, such as when gardening.
- Eat healthy foods. Studies show that eating some types of food helps lower inflammation. According to the Arthritis Foundation, many foods recommended as part of the Mediterranean Diet, such as fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds and healthy fats, may reduce inflammation and ease arthritis pain.
- Treat knee pain. If you have occasional or temporary knee pain, you may experience relief by resting your knee, applying ice and/or taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDs). But if pain persists, or is accompanied by weakness or other symptoms, see a doctor to get to the root cause of the problem.
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Date Last Reviewed: March 16, 2023
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD