The Bees Knees – My Finds for Reducing Knee Pain
I was planning to post a new recipe for you guys today for a pseudo cream of mushroom soup that doesn’t use cream, but, it’s just not ready yet. My initial recipe idea was decent, but not great, so, not ready to share. Instead, I thought I’d share some knee care tips today. This is a compilation of the things I’ve learned while rehabbing from my broken knee.
After about 8 months, I am starting to feel a little more normal. Not 100%, but certainly better than I’ve been in a long time! I’ve done a lot of trial-and-error and experimentation with exercises, supplements, knee braces/supports, and diet. Being that I’m not the only one ever to injure a knee, I thought I’d share with you some of the things I’ve found that have really provided healing and relief for the consistent pain. Have something that works for you? Please leave it in the comments!
- Turmeric. I am not a fan of prescription medications if I can help it, especially NSAIDS for pain relief. But, there have been days when my knee aches so much that I really can’t think about anything else, and that is highly unproductive! Enter turmeric, both the fresh root added to smoothies (when I can find it), and, a high quality capsule for immediate relief. I have found that turmeric works so well that I take it daily in the morning, and really notice a difference if I run out. It also has the positive side effect of being a liver cleanser. Here is the brand I have been using.
- Knee supports. As much as I’d like to not need one, I still prefer to have some sort of compression support on as often as possible. I’ve settled on a combination of a bamboo support called Incredibrace during the day, which provides compression and support, and, a Tommy Copper sleeve for the evening. They are both fantastic.The Incredibrace gives support and relieves pain during the day, and is relatively breatheable, unlike neoprene. Willing to try anything to get some relief, I ordered a Tommie Copper knee sleeve on a bit of a whim. I don’t like it all for daytime – it is not really supportive like the Incredibrace – but for nighttime, it is amazing. I don’t know if it’s a placebo effect or not, but, I can put it on at night after a hard day of PT (which usually leaves me hurting), and wake up in the morning with significantly reduced pain. The reduction in pain is much more than from just sleep alone, so I am bought into the whole copper phenomenon. I don’t know how it works, but for me, it does!
- Coconut oil. Massaged into the scar daily, coconut oil has really helped reduce the appearance of the 6” incision over my knee. It also smells lovely! I have one jar in the kitchen for cooking, and another in the bathroom for knee work. It also makes a great moisturizer and make up remover. Truly.
- Foam rolling. When I first had my full leg cast removed, I could not bend my knee at all. In time, I worked through that and got most of the knee range of motion back, but had incredibly tight hips, hamstrings, quads, and vastus medialus (VMO). I could not sit cross legged or do a runner’s quad stretch, or even a child’s pose in yoga.
Little by little, with regular foam rolling, these areas have been really improving. A full child’s pose is still a dream for the future, but, I can comfortably sit cross-legged now – a huge victory. I have been paying special attention to the VMO (inner thigh), and that one has brought the most direct relief to the actual pain. The ITB is what was able to loosen and bring back the ability to sit with crossed legs. My foam roller is from TriggerPoint, and does not compress like a traditional foam roll as it is made of a stiff plastic core. It is covered with different types ridges to really dig into those adhesions.Foam rolling is one of those things that hurts so good – the more discomfort, the more you likely need it. These are the areas I foam roll, with the VMO area helping the most for knee pain. I only added the VMO a couple of weeks ago after researching what I could be missing that causes knee pain, and bingo, it was the VMO!
- Wall sits. Ugh, the dreaded wall sits! My quads are still relatively disproportionate. It is so easy to lose muscle, and so hard to gain it back without a lot of concentrated effort, so, I do 5+ minutes of wall sits a day, trying to put the effort into the left side as much as possible. This is no impact and requires no equipment other than a wall. It is producing strength gains as well. I started small with 20 second bouts at a time, and just keep adding time as it gets easier. I’m up to over 2 minutes at a time now, with a goal to get back to my pre-injury ability of about 5 minutes.
With a little luck, I hope to get back into triathlon late in the season, and will keep you all posted if I come up with anything else that really helps with rehab and recovery! Do you have any tips to add to this list?