Follow these dos and donâts to help your knees feel their best.
1. Donât rest too much. Too much rest can weaken your muscles, which can worsen joint pain. Find an exercise program that is safe for your knees and stick with it. If you're not sure which motions are safe or how much you can do, talk with your doctor or a physical therapist.
2. Do exercise. Cardio exercises strengthen the muscles that support your knee and increase flexibility. Weight training and stretching do, too. For cardio, some good choices include walking, swimming, water aerobics, stationary cycling, and elliptical machines.
3. Donât risk a fall. A painful or unstable knee can make a fall more likely, which can cause more knee damage.
4. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) is good for knee pain caused by a minor injury or an arthritis flare. Give your knee some rest, apply ice to reduce swelling, wear a compressive bandage, and keep your knee elevated.
5. Don't overlook your weight. If you're overweight, losing weight reduces the stress on your knee. You donât even need to get to your "ideal" weight. Smaller changes still make a difference.
6. Don't be shy about using a walking aid. A crutch or cane can take the stress off of your knee. Knee splints and braces can also help you stay stable.
7. Don't let your shoes make matters worse. Cushioned insoles can reduce stress on your knees.
8. Do play with temperature. For the first 48 to 72 hours after a knee injury, use a cold pack to ease swelling and numb the pain. A plastic bag of ice or frozen peas works well. Use it for 15 to 20 minutes three or four times a day. Wrap your ice pack in a towel to be kind to your skin. After that, you can heat things up with a warm bath, heating pad, or warm towel for 15 to 20 minutes, three or four times a day.
9. Donât jar your joint(s). High-impact exercises can further injure painful knees. Avoid jarring exercises such as running, jumping, and kickboxing. Also avoid doing exercises such as lunges and deep squats that put a lot of stress on your knees. These can worsen pain and, if not done correctly, cause injury.