Arthritis is the inflammation of joints causing stiffness, pain, and swelling.
Knee osteoarthritis is one of the common forms of arthritis. In this disease, knee joints are affected. It is a degenerative type of arthritis which mostly affects people around 50 years of age and older. It can also affect younger people.
The knee is the strongest joint of the body. It is made up of the followings
- The lower end of the femur (thighbone)
- The upper end of the tibia (shinbone)
- The patella (kneecap)
At the knee, joint two bones meet which are thigh and shin bones. Patella or kneecap is present at the front of the knee and helps in the protection of knee. Knee joint contains two rings of smooth cartilage which is called menisci or meniscus. These rings of cartilage act as a “shock absorbers” help in the movement of bones against each other without causing friction.
A thin lining “Synovial membrane” surrounds the knee joint. This membrane releases a fluid which provides lubrication and helps in the reduction of friction.
During knee osteoarthritis, the cartilage of the knee joint gradually becomes thin and rough. This causes friction during the movement of bones. As the cartilage reduces, the protective space between the bones also decreases. This causes increased friction and pain during the movement of bones.
The pain associated with osteoarthritis develops slowly and worsens over time.
Knee arthritis can affect everyday activities like, climbing stairs or walking.
How to Relive Knee Osteoarthritis at home?
Knee osteoarthritis can be relieved by implementing a few changes in lifestyle which are followings:
Following exercises should be performed to get better results:
- Stretching exercises, daily
- Strengthening exercises, two or three times a week
- Aerobic exercises, two or three times a week
These exercises can be performed daily. Stretching exercises are the following:
- Straight-leg raise
This exercise is performed in a sitting posture.
For this purpose, straighten one of your legs and hold for 10 seconds. Then, slowly lower your leg. Repeat this exercise 10 times for each leg.
- Leg stretches
This exercise is also performed in a sitting posture.
For this exercise, sit on the floor with your legs stretched out straight in front of you. Then, slowly bend one knee upward, until you feel a gentle stretch. Hold this stretch for 5 seconds.
This exercise should be performed 10 times with each leg.
Strengthening exercises can be hard to perform. Therefore, these should be performed two to three times a week.
- Straight-leg raise
It is performed in a lying position. For this purpose, lay down and bend one of the legs at the knee. Then, hold the other leg straight and lift your foot off the floor for five seconds. This exercise should be performed depending upon your stamina.
- Knee squats
For knee squats, hold onto a work surface or a chair for support. Then, perform down Squat until kneecap is directly over the big toe and come back to the normal standing position. Repeat this exercise again and again until you can’t do anymore.
- Sit and stands
For this exercise, sit on a chair, stand up and then sit back without using your hands for support. Perform this exercise slowly and in a controlled manner. Repeat this exercise as much as possible depending upon your stamina.
The aerobic exercises like swimming, walking, and biking for 30 minutes can also be effective.
2- Weight management
Obesity increases the stress on weight-bearing joints, like knee joints and hips. Weight loss can be effective in relieving the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. Even a slight reduction in weighing can reduce pressure and pain of knee joints. For healthy weight loss, a professional dietitian can recommend a weight loss plan.
Capsaicin is an active component of hot chili peppers. Capsaicin is used in many creams to relieve pain and inflammation. Therefore, capsaicin can be applied over an arthritic joint to reduce the pain. It should be applied three to four times a day for several weeks.
4- Pain Creams
At drugstores, gels and creams are available to reduce the pain of knee osteoarthritis. Some creams relieve the pain by giving a cool or hot sensation.
While other creams contain medications like aspirin. These creams get absorbed into the skin and effectively reduce pain.
5- Assistive devices
Assistive devices can be used. These devices reduce the amount of stress applied to the affected joint. In this way, it can alleviate the pain of knee osteoarthritis.
Both hot and cold compresses can be used to manage joint pain due to osteoarthritis
- Hot Compress
Hot compress helps in the reduction of pain and stiffness
It can be prepared by wrapping a hot water bottle into a towel. Placing the hot compress for 2 to 3 minutes can ease the condition.
- Cold compress
Cold compress reduces inflammation and swelling.
A cold compress can be made by wrapping ice cubes in a towel. Placing it on the affected area for about 1 minute can improve the condition.
7- Massage Therapy
Massaging of the affected area is also helpful in the reduction of the intensity of pain, swelling, and inflammation caused by knee osteoarthritis. Massaging can improve blood circulation and reduces inflammation.
- olive oil or coconut oil can be used for massaging of the affected areas
- A mixture of wintergreen oil and eucalyptus oil can also be prepared for massaging. For this purpose, mix an equal amount of both oil and then, apply this mixture on the affected joints.
- A combination of camphor and mustard oil can also be used.
For this purpose, mix 10 grams of camphor with 1 cup of mustard oil and heat it for 5 minutes. Then, apply this mixture on the affected areas.
8- Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar can also be effective for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. Apple cider vinegar has anti-inflammatory and alkaline-forming properties. These properties help in the reduction of pain and stiffness of the joints
- Mix 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and honey in a glass of warm water. Drink this mixture twice a day, before having a meal.
- A mixture of 1 tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil can be used to massage the affected knee joint.
Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It has a compound called curcumin which gives it anti-inflammatory properties.
Turmeric is found safe for the treatment of osteoarthritis. This study was published by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2009.
Turmeric can be used in the following proportions:
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder can be added to a glass of warm milk. Honey can also be added to it. This drink should be used twice a day for a few days.
- Turmeric powder can also be used in daily cooking for additional benefits.
- Turmeric should be used with care after the recommendations of the doctor. A high amount of turmeric can be problematic.
- Turmeric shouldn’t be used with blood-thinning medications or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
- People suffering from kidney problems must not use this turmeric for osteoarthritis.