How Do You Get Rid of Arthritis in Your Knee

Understanding Knee Arthritis: Types and Causes

Knee arthritis is a degenerative joint condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by the breakdown and loss of cartilage in the knee joint, resulting in pain, stiffness, and limited mobility. There are three primary types of knee arthritis: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and post-traumatic arthritis. Osteoarthritis, the most common form, is a result of wear and tear associated with aging. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation in the joint lining. Post-traumatic arthritis develops after a knee injury, leading to joint damage and, eventually, arthritis.

Addressing knee arthritis early on is crucial to prevent further joint damage and maintain mobility. While there is no definitive cure for arthritis, various natural strategies can help alleviate symptoms and improve the quality of life for those affected. This comprehensive guide will explore these strategies, focusing on adopting a healthy lifestyle, managing weight, physical therapy, assistive devices, alternative therapies, pain management, and creating a supportive environment.

Adopting a Healthy Lifestyle: Diet and Exercise

A healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet and regular exercise, plays a significant role in managing knee arthritis. Consuming anti-inflammatory foods can help alleviate arthritis symptoms and improve joint health. These foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, nuts, and seeds.

Regular exercise is equally important for those with knee arthritis. Low-impact activities, such as swimming, cycling, and yoga, can improve joint flexibility, strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee, and enhance overall well-being without causing further damage to the joint. These exercises can also help maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI), which is crucial for reducing pressure on the knee joint and alleviating arthritis symptoms.

When embarking on a new exercise regimen, it is essential to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of workouts. This approach can help prevent injury and ensure long-term success. Additionally, consulting with a healthcare provider or fitness professional before starting any new exercise program is always a good idea, especially for those with existing health conditions or severe arthritis symptoms.

Managing Weight: The Importance of a Healthy Body Mass Index

Maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI) is crucial for managing knee arthritis and alleviating symptoms. Excess weight places additional pressure on the knee joint, exacerbating arthritis pain and accelerating joint damage. By achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, individuals with knee arthritis can reduce pressure on the knee joint, improve mobility, and enhance overall quality of life.

To determine a healthy BMI, divide your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared. A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered healthy. For those with a higher BMI, losing even a small amount of weight can significantly improve arthritis symptoms. For example, losing just 5% of body weight can reduce knee pain by up to 50% and improve overall physical function.

To achieve weight loss and long-term weight management, consider implementing the following strategies:

  • Create a calorie deficit by consuming fewer calories than you burn through daily activities and exercise.
  • Choose nutrient-dense, whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, over processed and high-calorie options.
  • Incorporate regular physical activity, including low-impact exercises like swimming, cycling, and yoga, into your daily routine.
  • Monitor your progress by tracking your weight, food intake, and exercise regularly.
  • Seek support from friends, family, or a healthcare professional to help you stay motivated and accountable.

Physical Therapy and Strengthening Exercises

Physical therapy and strengthening exercises are essential components of managing knee arthritis. Working with a physical therapist can help you develop a customized exercise program designed to target the affected muscles, improve joint stability, and enhance overall mobility. By incorporating these exercises into your daily routine, you can alleviate arthritis symptoms, reduce pain, and improve your quality of life.

Physical therapy typically involves a combination of the following:

  • Range-of-motion exercises to maintain or improve knee flexibility and mobility.
  • Strengthening exercises to target the muscles surrounding the knee, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, which play a crucial role in supporting and stabilizing the joint.
  • Balance and coordination activities to help improve stability and reduce the risk of falls and injuries.
  • Manual therapy techniques, such as massage and joint mobilization, to alleviate pain and improve joint function.

When engaging in physical therapy and strengthening exercises, it is essential to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. This approach can help prevent injury and ensure long-term success. Additionally, always consult with a healthcare provider or fitness professional before starting any new exercise program, especially if you have existing health conditions or severe arthritis symptoms.

Using Assistive Devices: Braces, Canes, and More

Assistive devices, such as knee braces, canes, and shoe inserts, can provide additional support and reduce pain in the knee joint. These devices can be particularly helpful for individuals with knee arthritis, as they help distribute weight more evenly across the joint, alleviate pressure, and improve stability. However, it is essential to understand the pros and cons of each device and select the right one for your individual needs.

Knee Braces

Knee braces are available in various styles and designs, from off-the-shelf options to custom-made models. Some braces are designed to provide general support, while others focus on specific areas of the knee. When selecting a knee brace, consider the following factors:

  • Comfort: Ensure the brace fits comfortably and does not cause additional pain or discomfort.
  • Support: Choose a brace that provides adequate support for your specific needs.
  • Stability: Opt for a brace that enhances knee stability, reducing the risk of injury or further damage.
  • Durability: Invest in a high-quality, durable brace that can withstand regular use and washing.


Canes can help redistribute weight from the knee joint to the upper body, reducing pressure and pain. When using a cane, follow these guidelines:

  • Ensure the cane is the correct height, with the top of the cane approximately level with your wrist when standing upright.
  • Choose a cane with a comfortable, stable handle and a sturdy base.
  • Use the cane on the opposite side of the affected knee to provide optimal support and balance.

Shoe Inserts

Shoe inserts, such as orthotics or cushioned insoles, can help absorb shock and reduce pressure on the knee joint. When selecting shoe inserts, consider the following:

  • Comfort: Opt for inserts that provide cushioning and support without causing discomfort or irritation.
  • Arch Support: Choose inserts that offer appropriate arch support for your foot type.
  • Durability: Invest in high-quality inserts that can withstand regular use and washing.

Exploring Alternative Therapies: Acupuncture, Massage, and Tai Chi

In addition to traditional treatments, alternative therapies like acupuncture, massage, and tai chi can help alleviate knee arthritis symptoms, improve flexibility, and enhance overall quality of life. These complementary treatments can be used in conjunction with other strategies to manage arthritis and promote holistic well-being.


Acupuncture, an ancient Chinese practice, involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate energy flow and promote healing. According to some studies, acupuncture may help reduce knee arthritis pain and improve joint function. When considering acupuncture, look for a licensed and experienced practitioner who specializes in treating arthritis.


Massage can help alleviate muscle tension, improve circulation, and reduce knee arthritis pain. Regular massage sessions, particularly those focused on the affected knee and surrounding muscles, can help improve flexibility, enhance range of motion, and promote overall well-being. Consult with a licensed massage therapist who has experience working with individuals with arthritis.

Tai Chi

Managing Pain: Medications and Natural Remedies

Effective pain management is crucial for individuals with knee arthritis. Various options, including over-the-counter and prescription medications, as well as natural remedies, can help alleviate pain and improve joint function. Always consult a healthcare provider before starting any new medication or supplement regimen.

Over-the-Counter Medications

Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and naproxen, can help manage knee arthritis pain. These medications can be used for short-term pain relief but should be used with caution, as long-term use may lead to side effects like stomach ulcers and kidney damage.

Prescription Medications

For more severe knee arthritis pain, healthcare providers may prescribe stronger NSAIDs, corticosteroid injections, or topical creams with higher concentrations of active ingredients. These medications can provide more potent pain relief but may also carry increased risks of side effects.

Natural Remedies

Natural remedies, such as herbal supplements and topical creams, can also help alleviate knee arthritis pain. Some popular options include:

  • Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements, which may help reduce pain and improve joint function in some individuals with knee arthritis.
  • Capsaicin cream, which contains the active ingredient in chili peppers and can help alleviate pain when applied to the affected area.
  • Turmeric and ginger, which have anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce knee arthritis pain and inflammation.

While natural remedies can be effective for some individuals, it is essential to consult a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement or cream regimen, as these products can interact with other medications and may carry potential side effects.

Creating a Supportive Environment: Ergonomics and Lifestyle Adjustments

Creating a supportive environment is essential for managing knee arthritis and reducing stress on the affected joint. By incorporating ergonomic principles and making lifestyle adjustments, you can improve joint health, alleviate pain, and enhance overall quality of life.

Ergonomic Principles

Proper posture and body mechanics play a crucial role in managing knee arthritis. Follow these ergonomic principles to reduce stress on the knee joint:

  • Maintain a neutral spine when sitting, standing, and moving. Avoid slouching or hunching over, which can strain the knee joint and surrounding muscles.
  • Use proper lifting techniques when picking up heavy objects, keeping the knee joint aligned and avoiding twisting or bending excessively.
  • Choose supportive footwear with good arch support and cushioning to absorb shock and reduce pressure on the knee joint.

Lifestyle Adjustments

Making simple modifications to furniture and household items can help alleviate knee arthritis symptoms and improve joint function. Consider the following lifestyle adjustments:

  • Raise the height of your chair or bed to reduce the need for excessive bending or strain on the knee joint.
  • Install handrails and grab bars in strategic locations, such as bathrooms and stairways, to provide additional support and stability.
  • Use assistive devices, like long-handled reachers or shoe horns, to minimize bending and stretching, reducing stress on the knee joint.

By incorporating these ergonomic principles and lifestyle adjustments, you can create a supportive environment that promotes knee health and overall well-being, making it easier to manage knee arthritis and maintain an active, fulfilling lifestyle.