Get a neoprene brace with a round hole for your kneecap, and wear it during any activity that triggers the ache, Connolly recommends. Putting the squeeze on the joint helps reduce swelling and activate the surrounding muscles, which helps stabilize the joint. Plus, the sensory feedback you get from the brace can help you avoid movements that make your knee feel worse, Franey says.
If mild knee discomfort tends to strike you mid-workout, try lighter compression gear (such as CW-X Stabilyx tights, $105—or buy just the knee support for $40). These types of garments provide targeted support that help absorb shock while keeping the joint warm and loose, says Connolly.
6. Better Sleep
Here's a vicious cycle: Knee pain can interrupt sleep—and poor sleep seems to make your knees ache even worse, according to findings just published in the Journal of Pain. The findings suggest that disrupted sleep changes the way your brain processes pain, leaving you more sensitive.
Scientists think inflammation or altered levels of brain chemicals like dopamine and serotonin may be to blame. To drift off to dreamland more easily, try a cold glass of tart cherry juice a half-hour before bed, recommends nutritionist and exercise physiologist Stacy Sims, PhD. A recent study from Texas A&M University suggests the juice can reduce post-workout pain, and it may help boost the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, says Sims.
More From Prevention: 6 Simple Moves To Ease Sciatica
This technique can boost blood flow and help ease inflammation, says Franey: Lie down and lift your knee above your heart. Place your thumb on one side of the joint and your fingers on the other.
With very light pressure and long strokes, slide your hand over your knee toward your heart. Franey recommends doing this for 5 minutes, twice a day—or anytime you notice puffiness.
This spice gives curry its warm taste and golden hue—and it slows down key compounds in your body's inflammatory process. (Here are 9 healing benefits of turmeric.) In a recent study in the journal Clinical Interventions in Aging, 1,400 milligrams of Curcuma domestica extract—the active ingredient in turmeric—per day worked as well to relieve knee arthritis as 1,200 milligrams of ibuprofen—the equivalent of six regular pills, the maximum advisable daily dose.
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