How to Treat Osteoarthritis


Living with this painful condition can be a challenge. Since so much of your daily life involves moving around, it can be frustrating to feel limited by the pain of arthri­tis. What can you do for some quick relief?

  • Lift that leg. Elevate your knee above heart level to help reduce painful swelling.
  • Soothe your soreness. A warm heating pad will help relieve your aching knee. Apply it to your joints for 20 minutes two to three times a day. Haven’t got one? Try filling a clean, dry, cotton sock with uncooked rice and tieing the end closed. Heat it in your microwave for three minutes, and you now have a flexible heating pad that will con­form to any aching part of your body. The sock will stay warm for up to an hour, and you don’t have to worry about burns.

Osteoarthritis

  • Tape your kneecap. Taping your kneecap to the inside of your leg may sound strange, but it actual­ly helps relieve pressure caused by a misaligned knee. It’s also a safe, inexpensive way to make climbing stairs and walking a little easier. After pulling your kneecap toward the inner part of your leg, tape it so the two end pieces of the tape are on the outer side of your leg, not touching each other. The best tape to use is a roll of 2-inch-wide athletic adhesive tape.
  • Consider a cane. Using a cane in the hand opposite your painful knee will reduce the force on your joint by up to 50 percent. Try it for a few days to see if it helps.

The long-range plan for osteoarthritis

You can usually relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis but, unfortunately, any deterioration in your joints will be permanent. By making some changes in your lifestyle, you can have more control over this painful condition.

  • Balance your diet. It’s important to eat well for gen­eral health, but certain foods also may have a spe­cial impact on osteoarthritis. A vegetarian diet may especially help, but simply eating more fruits and vegetables and less meat could help relieve your arthritis. The omega-3 fatty acids in deep-water fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, and herring, are also known to relieve arthritis. You may want to try eliminating dairy products from your diet to see if your symptoms improve. Some researchers think dairy products and other foods, such as wheat and black walnuts, may trigger arthritis.
  • Exercise regularly. It may be tough to work out when your joints are aching, but exercise helps your knees stay mobile and strengthens the mus­cles around them. Although doctors used to recommend rest for arthritis sufferers, they now think even aerobic exercise can be valuable. Exercises that aren’t weight bearing, such as bicy­cling, swimming, and water aerobics, are good choices. If you prefer vigorous aerobic exercise, and your knees can tolerate it, go for it. You need to find your own best level of fitness, but be sure to check with your doctor and physical therapist before doing anything too strenuous. Besides giv­ing you greater strength and physical well-being, exercise can give you a greater feeling of control over your arthritis.
  • Battle back with vitamins. Vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene can go to bat for you in your battle against knee pain. Researchers have found these potent antioxidants may help keep the osteoarthri­tis in your knees from getting worse. Vitamin D may also help painful knees by strengthening the bones around them. This keeps you from getting bone-weakening cavities and cysts. Next time you go grocery shopping, be sure to fill your cart with plenty of fresh fruits, green and yellow vegetables, nuts, seeds, and wheat germ. And don’t forget to enjoy plenty of sunshine.

Your knees are the key to such simple motions as standing up, walking, climbing, or kicking. Whether you’re an active athlete or someone who simply likes to dance or ride a bike, you have the potential to develop knee problems. By keeping your leg muscles strong and taking care of your health, you should find your knees supporting you well into old age.

Filed Under: Health & Personal Care

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About the Author: Andrew Reinert is a health care professional who loves to share different tips on health and personal care. He is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo and lives in Canada.

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