I suffer from knee inflammation due to some degeneration behind my knee cap, so I have constantly been researching ways to get rid of the swelling and to help reduce my pain. A lot of it is hit and miss, sometimes it helps me, sometimes it helps my teammates, and sometimes it doesn’t work at all for the individual. It definitely doesn’t hurt and when you find what you respond best too, it’s like discovering a pot of gold. Here are some of my personal ideas and how I try to reduce the inflammation in my knee. A little disclaimer, if you have a serious injury and your knee is swelling as a result, you need to get to a doctor, get a scan and find out whats going on so you can heal the injury, and then look after the swelling. Step by step… this is more a guide for those with longer term degeneration problems…aside from taking drugs.
This is no secret. I ice after every practise, especially when my knee is bothering me. Although some recent studies show there might not be any benefit to icing when it comes to inflammation, many other ones show the opposite… and I certainly feel better. Placebo or not, this is not one I am willing to give up, and if you see some swelling in your joints, you should get ice on them.
Anti Inflammatory Gel and Glad Wrap
In Australia we call the plastic wrap that you put around your sandwiches glad wrap, so that’s what I am referring too. I also feel this helps my knees, and I do it when i have bad pain and inflammation. I put anti inflammatory cream on my knee, something like Voltaren cream, and then I put glad wrap over it at night. I honestly can’t tell you exactly why it helps, but I certainly notice a smaller and less painful knee in the morning. Try it, you have nothing to lose.
Strengthen your Quads and Hamstrings
Strong quads and hamstrings take pressure off your knees. I don’t need to say anything else, get strong and get healthy.
Trigger Point Work
Pain is often referred, and swelling can also be as a result. find that doing some strong soft tissue work through my quads almost always helps. My knee pain comes from overuse, my quads get some heavy beatings with daily practise, and they are tight and angry. As soon as I can my foam roller and tennis ball out and do some work through the area, I feel like I instantly have more mobility and less pain. Try it… you should be doing it anyway. Check out my self massage ebook to find out how.
Stretch your quads, stretch your hamstrings. Stretching has a relaxing effect on the muscles, relaxed muscles are your friend when suffering from knee inflammation. If your inflammation is a result of an injury and your mobility doesn’t allow you to stretch, then don’t.
Compression sleeves help me a lot. If only to keep my knee warm during practise. Staying warm helps arthritis like knees, and consequently reduces the inflammation. I think the benefit for me is more the warmth factor that the compression brings than the actual compression itself.
If it hurts, don’t do it. Get some relative rest, theres always something else you can do.
Some people suffer more inflammation because they haven’t got their diet in order. Although it is not the most important, nor the easiest to get right it will have an affect on the inflammation in your knee if you are terribly wrong. If your knees are swollen, you should start to add more fish to your diet. Omega 3 fatty acids are natural anti inflammatories and they can help to reduce knee pain and soreness. You can use fish oil supplements, or you can add some more salmon, tuna, herring, cod or mackerel into your diet. My bet is that you are not getting enough of these oils anyway.
This is by far the most proven diet rememedy, but here are a couple other ideas that you can try in your diet… that may or may not help. Several studies have shown positive results, but they don’t work for everyone.
- Get more vitamin C
- Eat Spinach and Onions (lutein and zeaxanthin can help relieve osteoarthritis knee pain)
- Spice up your meal with Tumeric, it contains curcumin which is a powerful anti-inflammatory.
- Ginger helps to decrease inflammation.
- Stop gorging on sugar and highly refined carbs, it works against you.
If you suffer from inflammation in the knee try these ideas out, all I can promise if you have nothing to lose. For some more tips check out this post on keeping healthy knees.