Our elders are usually the ones complaining about knee pain, but it is not necessarily limited to them. Knee joint pain may be experienced by in anyone and at any age. As we grow older, we might experience joint pains due to tissue degeneration. Specifically, knee joint pain might occur due to injury, joint overuse or a condition of the joints known as arthritis. Your doctor will examine you thoroughly, run a few tests and diagnose the cause of your knee pain. They will then decide the treatment plan based on the severity of your condition. The treatment options may range from simple home remedies, exercises, medications and minimally invasive procedures to surgery.1 However, there might be a few simple helpful tips and tricks that might ease your knee pain. Let’s look at these in detail.
What Causes Knee Joint Pain?
You can experience pain in the knee joint because of following conditions:
- Overuse: Some activities which are repetitive might lead to knee joint pain.1 For example,
- Runner’s knee or patellofemoral pain (pain around the kneecap due to the shape of the knee or mechanics).
- Tendinitis (pain due to inflammation in the tendons of leg) due to sports such as basketball or volleyball or due to repetitive jumping.
- Osgood-Schlatter disease (swelling below the kneecap, in the shinbone), this might occur due to overuse.1
- Injury: Injury to the knee due to sudden trauma to parts of the knee joint might be the cause of knee pain.1 Some of the common knee injuries are:
- Kneecap dislocation (movement of bone covering the knee. i.e., kneecap, out of its place)
- Bursitis (swelling of the liquid-filled sacs that cushion the knee joint)
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury or medial collateral (MCL) ligament injury (damage of stabilising ligaments of the knee)
- Meniscus tear (tearing of the slippery tissue that facilitates smooth movement of bones together i.e., knee cartilage)1
- Arthritis: It is a condition in which various joints of the body are inflamed, leading to pain and swelling.1 It can be of several types, for example,
- Osteoarthritis (breakdown of cartilage in the joint over time, especially due to stress on the knee joint)
- Rheumatoid arthritis (autoimmune disorder in which the immune system of the body attacks the joints)1
Symptoms of Knee Joint Pain:
Knee pain is itself a symptom that can occur due to the above-mentioned causes. However, you may experience the following symptoms of joint pain along with knee pain:
- You might be unable to fully straighten the knee
- The knee might be red and warm to touch
- Noises of popping or crunching might be heard on knee movement
- There might be stiffness or swelling in the knee
- You might feel weak or unstable while walking.2
Kindly ensure that you consult a doctor and do not self-medicate.
Home Remedies for Knee Joint Pain:
The scientific community is always looking for safer ways to treat diseases, which is why natural products such as Guduchi, Masha, Linseed, etc. are being researched extensively. However, more research is required to ensure their safety in humans. Therefore, the following home remedies for knee joint pain might be helpful along with the treatment your doctor has advised.
Agastya is also known as West Indian pea in English, Agatha in Hindi, Avisa in Telugu, Bak in Bengali and Agathiyo in Gujarati. It might be helpful to relieve knee pain. Application of the paste made from the root and bark on the surface of the knee may have an alleviating effect on the pain. However, more research is required to prove such effects. Kindly consult a doctor before starting any medication.
Hadjod or Asthisamharaka is the Hindi name of the Eldt grape. It is also referred to as the Devil’s backbone or Adamant creeper. Its scientific name is Cissus quadrangularis and it belongs to the family Vitaceae. It might help with knee pain and other joint pains. Your Ayurvedic physician might advise you to fry the stem of hadjod in ghee and consume it with milk. This might be helpful in fractures and in osteoarthritis. However, there is need for further research to prove such claims.
3. Atasi (Linseed)
Atasi, which is known as linseed in English, might help with knee pain due to arthritis. Commonly, your doctor might suggest that you first take a few seeds of linseed and soak it in sour buttermilk. A fine paste is to be made from this and applied it on the affected knee(s). However, more research is required to know about its efficacy and safety.3 You should use it as per the prescription of your Ayurvedic doctor. Do not self-medicate.
Guduchi, or Tinospora cardifolia is also known as Giloe or Gurcha (Hindi), Seendal (Tamil), Indian Tinospora or Heartleaved moonseed. It belongs to the family Menispermaceae. It might be helpful in arthritic pain. Your doctor might recommend drinking guduchi juice for your arthritic knee joint pain. However, more research is required to prove these effects. Therefore, do not self-medicate. Kindly consult a doctor.
5. Harita Manjari
This herb is known by different names in different parts of India. In Hindi it is called Kuppi or Aamaabhaaji, Indramaris in Oriya, Muktajhuri in Bengali, etc. It belongs to the family Euphorbiacea and is called Acalypha indica also commonly known as Indian Acalypa. The leaves of this plant might be helpful with the knee pain mainly associated with arthritis. Your doctor might advise that you fry these leaves in ginger oil and use that oil for application on the painful joints. However, more research is required.3
Indravalli has a variety of names like Fatphati (Marathi), Vekkudutiga (Telugu), Ulinna (Malayalam), Bodha (Gujarati) and Ballon vine or Heart’s pea (English). This leaf might prove to be effective in treatment of knee pain and other arthritic pain. It is used by cooking the leaves in tila oil and then using the oil for massaging the painful joints. However, there is a requirement for more research on this subject. 3
It belongs to the family Fabaceae and is known as Teramus labialis scientifically. It is also known as Jangli urad, Mashoni and Mashavan among many other names. A paste is made by adding black gram seed powder to few drops of sesame oil and applied to the painful knee joint; this might be helpful for joint pain. This might help to reduce the swelling and pain. However, more research is required to prove these effects. Therefore, please consult an Ayurvedic physician for the same.3
8. Other home care tips
Your doctor might recommend some of these solutions for your knee pain:
- Gentle stretching and exercises
- Making small modifications to your activities to avoid pain
- A knee supporting brace
- Application of ice or heat packs
- They might prescribe muscle creams or rubs and pain-relieving medicines.1
Please consult a doctor before following any of these natural remedies for knee pain. Kindly do not self-medicate.
More human studies are needed to establish the true extent of the benefits of these home remedies in knee joint pain relief. Thus, these should only be followed with caution and never as a substitute for medical treatment.
When to Seek Medical Help:
You should always seek medical help when you are doubtful and are experiencing symptoms of knee pain. You should especially get a check-up done under the following circumstances:
- If you experience severe pain in your knee after a fall or an accident
- If you have unbearable pain in your knee and it is unable to support your weight
- If your knee is swollen
- If you are unable to extend your leg fully
- If your pain doesn’t reduce in a few days and is untimely prolonged.1
Knee pain can affect anyone, especially in the older age group. It might occur mainly due to injury, arthritis, or overuse. The treatment options vary and depend on the severity of your condition. It is at the discretion of your doctor based on your consultation. There are few natural herbs that might be useful for knee pain Some of them are masha, linseed, indravalli, hadjod, etc. However, more research is required to prove the effectiveness and safety of these herbs. Please ensure that you consult a doctor and do not self-medicate.