Osteoarthritis Knee: Five Tips for Best Self-Care at Home

If you've got an osteoarthritis knee, you may feel like barriers are popping up everywhere in your life. However, what you may not know is that there are many ways you can care for your osteoarthritis knee at home, making things that were hard before a little bit easier. Follow these five tips for the best self-care at home!

Stay Active

The most important thing anyone can do with arthritis is to keep moving. It may seem counter-intuitive, considering how much exercise hurts, but if you don't keep moving, you'll stiffen up worse and be in more pain. Think of it like this: your joint is weak, which means that you need to strengthen your stabilizing muscles in order to compensate. This will lead to more flexibility and your joint will be better supported by the surrounding muscle.

Sleep Well

While it's important to stay active, it's also important to sleep well and rest as needed. If you have trouble sleeping because of the pain in your osteoarthritis knee, make sure to use pillows to take the pressure off the joint. If you are having trouble getting a good night's sleep in general, practice good sleep hygiene. Take distractions such as smartphones, computers, and televisions out of the bedroom and go to sleep at the same time every night. Your knee will thank you.

Eat a Balanced Diet

Consider taking a healthier diet, for a two-in-one. Studies show that eating a balanced diet full of nutrients help both ease arthritis pain and create stronger bones. Make sure that you're getting enough calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin C. However, as long as you're getting variety in your diet and enough fruits and vegetables, that's better than simply focusing on the nutrients themselves.

Lose Weight

The knee is a weight-bearing joint, and the more weight you put on it, the more it's going to hurt. Losing weight isn't easy, but one of the most important things you can do is shed any pounds at all. If you're keeping active and eating a balanced diet in order to help take care of your osteoarthritis knee, you might find that losing some weight comes naturally.

Over-the-Counter Medications

Joint pain in general can be difficult to treat, but the good news is that even moderate to severe joint pain can often be treated with over-the-counter remedies. If your osteoarthritis knee is swelling, its best to take an NSAID, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. If you're experiencing pain without swelling, taking acetaminophen might be right for you. Remember to talk to your doctor before starting any new medications, including over-the-counter remedies, as there may be overlap with some of your current pain management regimen or there could be contraindications.

Osteoarthritis can be difficult to manage, but if you follow these tips for self-care at home, you should be able to see a difference in your pain. The hard part is sticking to the regimen, so make sure that you start small and build good habits that will last, rather than trying to do too much at once.

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