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4 Natural Ways to Reduce Knee Pain


Hi Julie,

You have a common problem that many middle-aged and older people have – knees hurt when going upstairs and downstairs. Almost one out of every three Americans over 45 years old complains of some sort of knee pain, according to the federal Department of Health and Human Services.

There are various reasons why your knees hurt when you climb stairs but the most obvious and common causes of knee pain are overuse (knee injuries) and certain medical conditions such as gout and knee osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease of the knee joint commonly associated with females above the age of 55.

Generally speaking, minor cases of knee pain respond well to home remedies whereas more serious injuries like ruptured ligament or tendon, which usually requires surgical treatment. Please consult your doctor if knee pain persists.



What You Can Do to Stop Knee Pain

1. Lose Weight to Reduce Knee Pain

If you are overweight or obese, you are more likely to experience weakness and pain in the knee cap because extra weight puts undue pressure on your joints.

Do you know that each pound of body weight puts about 3 pounds of pressure on the kneecap? Now take a moment and think about this – if you are 10 pounds more than the healthy weight range for your height, you are putting an additional 30 pounds of pressure on your sore knees with every step.

Therefore, my advice is lose the excess weight you are carrying to avoid overstressing your knees. Weight loss not only reduce knee pain naturally but also prevent early-onset knee osteoarthritis. Maintain a healthy weight by eating a well balanced low-fat and low-calorie diet, as well as getting regular exercise.



2. Exercises to Help Knee Pain

The Mayo Clinic suggests strengthening exercises to help to relieve knee pain, particularly exercises that focus on the quadriceps muscles (front thigh) and hamstring muscles (back thigh) to help stabilize the knee joint.

If you are at home, lie down flat on your bed, making sure to keep your legs straight. Turn your foot outwards and raise your legs up and down. Repeat twice a day for approximately 10 minutes each time. This simple exercise can help ease your knee pain significantly.

If you are sitting in your office at work, do some straight leg lifts. This exercise helps strengthen your quadriceps muscles that support the knees, which may stop knee pain considerably. If you like, add a leg weight (or fill up your water bottle at the drinking fountain and throw it in your bag) for extra strengthening. As your knees become stronger, you might want to gradually add more weight to your bag and do more reps.

Alternatively, try standing on one leg without locking your knee for as long as you can before switching to the other leg. Make sure you hold onto the back of a chair for support.

Some low impact exercises such as cycling and yoga are great for strengthening the quads and hamstrings, and remember to warm up your knees before doing any strenuous exercise.



3. Diet to Stop Knee Pain

A good number of  research indicates that simple changes in a diet can bring on multiple benefits to knee health.

Foods that have powerful anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties may be as effective as some prescription medicines for arthritis and other types of knee pain, according to Beth Reardon, RD, MS, an integrative nutritionist and medicinal foods expert at Duke Integrative Medicine Center in Durham, N.C.



Many studies have shown that the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are natural anti-inflammatories, blocking not only the chemicals that cause inflammation in osteoarthritis but also the proteins that cause knee cartilage to become thin.

Coldwater such as salmon, tuna, sardines, herring, cod, and mackerel are rich sources of omega-3s. If you dislike fish, I highly recommend you supplement with fish oil capsules.


Vitamin C

In a decade-long Australian study of 293 adults, eating a diet full of Vitamin C rich fruits reduced the risk of bone degeneration linked to knee osteoarthritis, and protected the knee joint and supporting structures.

You want to consume fruits like grapefruit, kiwi, orange, mango, papaya and strawberries.



A few of my elderly friends said that eating soy protein on a daily basis for 3 months helps stop knee pain fast. Soy products such as tempeh, miso, tofu, edamame and soymilk are a rich source of isoflavones, which are plant hormones with anti-inflammatory properties.



Ginger has been used throughout history to improve digestive problems, but researchers recently found this tangy herb to be really helpful for reducing knee pain by decreasing muscle pain and inflammation.

You can make fresh ginger root tea part of your breakfast and cure knee pain, or add 1-2  ginger slices when you cook dishes like vegetables stir-fry.



Turmeric, a yellow curry spice commonly used in many Indian dishes, contains curcumin and curcuminoids, which are powerful anti- inflammatory phytochemicals that act as natural painkiller.

So, that's a pretty good reason to enjoy curries and keep joint pain at bay!

That said, it is important that you avoid refined carbohydrates – white bread, pasta, and baked goods – because these foods may increase inflammation.

You might also want to consider supplements such as glucosamine sulphate or collagen hydrosylate, both of which may provide symptomatic relief from knee pain although they have not been clinically proven to regenerate cartilage.



4. Proper Footwear to Prevent Knee Pain

If you love high heel shoes, heads up. High heels throw the weight of your body forward and put 23% more stress underneath your kneecap.

Researchers at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston found that women who wear high heels everyday are more likely to develop osteoarthritis of the knee in old age. Therefore, you want to wear comfortable shoes – low heels, flats or sneakers – if you are going to be on your feet all day.

If you tend to pronate, I suggest a shoe that has antipronation devices or high-density material on the inner side and good cushioning material on the inner side of the sole to lessen the impact of walking on hard surfaces.

Running in old or worn-out athletic shoes can also contribute to knee problems. Dr. Carol Frey of the Los Angeles Orthopedic Hospital notes that a shoe loses 50% percent of its shock absorbing capacity after 300 miles of running or walking, or 300 hours of aerobics classes and 80% is gone after 500 miles or 500 hours. She also warns that for heavier individuals, the shoe loses shock absorption sooner.

For that reason, it is a good idea to replace your running shoes every 6 months or every 400 to 600 miles.




By Diane Hanson

I am a woman in my late 40's. My knees hurt really bad only when I walk up and down the stairs and I feel alright while I stand. Most of my friends of a similar age experience the same knee pain problem so I guess it might be due to the aging process. Do you know if diet and exercise can help improve knee joint mobility and reduce knee pain? What can I do to naturally relieve knee pain fast? The pain is making my daily life very difficult as I have to climb up 3 flights of stairs to get to my apartment. Thank you. – Julie, California.

what can i do to stop knee pain

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