A few months after my first hip surgery, my left knee became swollen.
It continued to stay this way until my second surgery.
I’ve also had my knees drained of fluid numerous times in the past.
So I thought a post on what you can do for aching knees would be helpful especially if you are going through this.
In this post, you will also learn about:
- Why your knees ache
- What causes joint pain all over the body
- What causes knee pain without injury
- How you should sleep with knee pain
- What’s good for aching knees
- One amazing herb that helps with knee pain
- What you should eat for knee pain
Let’s get into it.
Why do both my knees ache?
What’s chronic knee pain?
If you’re experiencing long term knee pain, or swelling in one of both of your knees, then you most likely may have a chronic knee(s).
Pain doesn’t heal all by itself and needs treatment.
What are the causes
Injury and disease are the causes of chronic knee pain.
Some of which are:
- Dislocation of the knee cap
- Meniscus tear
What are the symptoms of chronic knee pain?
Everyone experiences knee pain differently.
It’s always a good idea to go to your doctor and get checked out.
Achy knees can be sign that something can be wrong.
Be mindful of:
- Sharp pain
- Dull ache
What can I do for aching knees?
There’s nothing like rest to make you feel better with achy knees.
RICE stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation.
Use an icepack for 20 minutes on your swollen knee and leave it off for 20 minutes.
Elevate your leg under a pillow at the same time.
Engage in exercise that strengthens your quads and hamstring muscles.
Often times sore knees correspond to weak glutes, hamstrings and quads.
I highly recommend seeing a physical therapist to help you gain strength in your knees.
They will give you exercises that you can do at home.
They can take the pressure off of your knees.
If you feel like your leg is going to buckle, using one will give you some support as you walk.
What causes joint pain?
The 2 types of arthritis that can contribute to knee pain are Osteoarthritis (OA) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).
The American College of Rheumatology says that OA is common in people over the age of 40.
OA can affect the:
It breaks down the cartilage that cushions and acts as a shock absorber for the joints.
There are some types of cancer that are more likely to cause joint pain.
Including cancer that occurs near a joint or in a joint, cancer spreading to the bones and leukemia which can cause cancer cells to cluster in the joints.
Additionally, some types of cancer treatment can cause joint pain too.
Gout occurs when there’s a buildup of uric acid which usually happens in the feet.
It causes swelling and pain in the joints of your feet and you can experience intense stabbing pain in your big toe.
If gout isn’t treated, it can become chronic.
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can cause inflammation throughout the entire body.
Usually, though it’s localized.
It attacks your immune system and causes the breakdown of your cells.
Some symptoms include fatigue, swollen joints and rash.
What causes knee pain without injury?
Trauma due to a fall or collision can lead to fractures in the bones of the knee.
Some people with degenerative disorders may be prone to weak bones that can fracture easily.
If the fracture is serious it will require surgery.
However, some people with a knee fracture may only need physical therapy.
Degenerative tissue disorders
Degenerative tissue disorders is a popular knee complaint.
Osteoarthritis breaks down the cartilage and the surrounding tissues of the knees.
This results in pain and stiffness.
I had osteoarthritis in both of my hips and after years of cartilage degeneration, I had both of my hips replaced.
OA occurs mostly as a result of aging, usually after the age of 60 and there’s no cure.
But people can manage symptoms by exercising and taking pain relief medication.
Cellulitis is a very serious bacterial skin infection that affects the deeper layers of skin and the fat and soft tissue underneath.
This condition can be life-threatening if not treated promptly.
The most popular form of treatment includes using antibiotics.
How should I sleep with knee pain?
Arthritis can cause pain and inflammation in the joints.
When you’re living with sore knees, it’s imperative to get a good night’s sleep and manage your pain during the day.
Some days you may feel that you can clean the house or do the grocery shopping.
But then at the end of the day, you feel really sore and realize that you aggravated your knees.
You then start to cuss at yourself for doing too much that day.
So just go slow during the day and pay close attention to what you are doing.
Tips for sleeping well at night
Sleeping can be a challenge at night due to sore and painful muscles and joints.
Here are some ways to get relaxed so you can fall asleep and have a good day when you get up:
- Place a pillow in between your knees and try to find a comfortable position.
I use an extra pillow each night in between my knees and it helps so much.
- Take a warm 20 minute bath before heading to bed. Light candles and play soft music as you soak.
I add about 1 cup of Epsom salts and 10 drops of lavender essential oil to my bathwater.
I can’t tell you how relaxed I feel afterward.
You must try an Epsom salt bath if you are achy all over.
- Stay off all electronics 1 hour before bedtime. Instead, read a book, do yoga, or meditate.
I like to practice yoga and meditate back to back in the afternoon or early evening.
The combination of the 2 makes me feel relaxed and ready for bed.
What is good for aching knees?
It’s vital when you have achy knees to exercise regularly.
I know, I know. I can hear you protesting now!
How can I work out when my knees feel like crap?
You need to make exercise a priority because knee pain can be caused by weak surrounding muscles in the knees, glutes and hamstrings.
Focus on movement every day to keep your joints moving.
But if that’s too much for you at the moment, aim for 3 to 4 days per week of a combination of strength training and stability exercises in the gym or at home.
If you don’t have a gym membership, don’t let that stop you.
Get outside and go for a walk or a swim.
Challenge your core and knees with exercises that allow you to move one leg at a time.
Doing exercises that challenge your balance and stability will strengthen your body.
Remember that consistency is the key!
If you’re overweight, you’ll feel more pressure on your knees.
Each pound of weight loss can reduce the load on the knee joint by 4 pounds.
When there is less pressure it means low wear and tear on your knees.
If you’re trying to lose weight to take the pressure off of your knees, speak to your doctor for help or hire a personal trainer if you’ve never worked out before.
Willow bark comes from the bark of some species of the willow tree and has been used for centuries.
It acts like aspirin and is used to help treat pain, headaches, inflammation and muscle pain.
A 2001 study found that willow bark helped reduce the pain of the participants that had arthritis.
If you are allergic to aspirin, don’t take willow bark.
Additionally, don’t give willow bark to children.
Ginger has been around for ages and was used in ancient times to manage pain.
Ginger in combination with prescribed medication has helped people with arthritis.
You can buy ginger root from the grocery store and make tea from it or add to recipes.
You can also buy ginger pills from your health food store.
Is turmeric good for knee pain?
Turmeric is a bright orange spice that has also been around for a very long time.
It contains a compound called curcumin that has anti-inflammatory properties.
Results from research
Research studies conducted on curcumin suggest that turmeric can be helpful with arthritis.
In 2016, a review was conducted to examine the data from 8 different clinical trials that investigated how effective turmeric and curcumin were at treating joint arthritis.
It concluded there was evidence to support that taking 1000 mg daily of curcumin for 8 to 12 weeks helped reduce pain and inflammation. Especially in osteoarthritis.
How to use it
Turmeric is available as a powder or a root.
You can sprinkle it over your food and grate the root to make herbal tea.
The research suggests that curcumin is effective at reducing joint pain.
You can purchase curcumin supplements from a health food store if you don’t want to add it to your recipes.
The research supports taking 1000mg of curcumin daily to treat pain.
Side effects and risk
Curcumin and turmeric may cause mild side effects in some people such as headaches or an upset stomach.
Turmeric may also interact with some medications so speak with your doctor if you’re planning to use turmeric as part of your treatment plan.
What should I eat for knee pain?
Maintaining a healthy weight when you have achy knees is very important and so is the food that you eat.
Read my post on 11 ways to manage inflammation and get your sexy back where I discuss some of the best types of food to reduce inflammation.
But for now, check out the suggestions below.
Omega 3 fatty acids help to reduce two types of protein that can cause inflammation, CRP (C-reactive protein) and Interleukin-6.
If you have high levels of CRP, then you will have increased pain and inflammation.
The Arthritis Society says that eating fish regularly can help people reduce their chances of developing RA.
They also support using fish oil supplements to help prevent cartilage breakdown or the severity of it.
Try to eat 3 ozs of salmon, tuna, sardines or mackerel 4 times per week to help reduce pain.
Fiber absorption aids in reducing cholesterol levels in the blood.
Studies have found that people with OA may have higher levels of cholesterol.
Aim to eat fiber rich foods, such as berries, pears, melons and oranges.
Oranges and deep green leafy vegetables are some great sources of vitamin C.
Vitamin C helps to preserve bone and can help protect cartilage cells.
Achy knee pain is not fun and can greatly reduce someone’s quality of life.
But it can be treated by getting a good night’s sleep, eating a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, turmeric and omega 3 rich fish.
Don’t forget to exercise too as this can help reduce the pain in your knees.
Comment below and if you know someone with achy knees, please share this post!