If you slip on the sidewalk, wipe out while playing with your kids, or wrench your knee all of a sudden, you know you need rest, ice, and maybe a trip to your doctor. But what should you do about ongoing knee pain that just won't quit?
1. Do This Stretch Daily
Many people with knee pain have trouble straightening their knee, says Ann Wendel, a physical therapist in Virginia and spokeswoman for the American Physical Therapy Association.
Doing hamstring stretches helps your legs move better. To do them:
- Lie on your back.
- Wrap a sheet, towel, or strap around your foot to help you hold your knee straight. Keep the stretch gentle. It should not hurt.
- Raise your leg and hold for about 30 seconds.
- Repeat with the other leg.
2. Go Shoe Shopping
If your soles have worn thin, it's time for a new pair of shoes. Shoes should provide enough protection so you can move without pain shooting up your leg to your knee.
Charles Bush-Joseph, MD, is an orthopaedic surgery professor at Rush University Medical Center. Some people do well, he says, with cushioned insoles or orthotics that change the alignment of their leg.
Love your stilettos? Save them for special occasions. High heels are bad news when you wear them too often. They pitch your body forward and make it harder to keep your knees aligned.
3. Try Acupuncture
Acupuncture is all about unblocking qi, the Chinese medical word for life force. It uses very fine needles on certain points of the body.
Western scientists don’t know exactly how it works. And the research findings are mixed on how well it works for knee osteoarthritis, the wear-and-tear type of arthritis.
A large study from Germany found that people with knee osteoarthritis had less pain and stiffness after 15 sessions of acupuncture than others who didn’t add it to their knee care. But Australian researchers found that real acupuncture was no better than a sham procedure, and only modestly better than a placebo.