The knees and hips are the most important weight-bearing joints in the body that work in tandem to provide support and mobility. Most people experience hip or knee pain at some point in their lives. The condition usually occurs due to prolonged use, wear and tear, injury and simple genetic predisposition. On the other hand, arthritis, sports injuries and other traumatic injuries can also contribute to the issue. Aches in the hip or knees can have a dramatic impact on mobility, strength, range of motion and back and spinal health. All these conditions require appropriate and timely treatment to restore mobility and normal functioning. Nevertheless, there are certain self-help strategies that can help you cope with pain in the hip and knees.
- Rest– Taking rest doesn’t mean that you should completely limit your level of activity as this may make the injuries worse. What you should do is eliminate or limit activities that exacerbate symptoms. Avoid any kind of motion that directly led to the injury and stick to activities that keep pressure off the joints. Low impact physical exercises can prevent and manage hip and knee conditions.
- Ice pack – Applying ice packs to the injured area can reduce pain and inflammation. Use the ice pack for at least 20 minutes at a time, with 20-minute pauses in between. This will make your hip or knees feel better. To protect the skin from frostbite, wrap a layer of cloth or other material between the ice and your skin.
- Compression – Wrapping a thick elastic bandage can reduce swelling and promote recovery. Make sure that the bandage is not wrapped very tight as this may cause the skin to become blue.
- Elevation – Elevating a painful joint can reduce swelling, inflammation and pain. Keep the affected leg raised on a pillow or stool. This will help prevent blood from pooling at the injured site. Reclining with your feet up will also benefit a painful hip.
- Weight loss – Maintaining the ideal weight or losing extra kilos (if overweight) would reduce stress on the joint and relieve pain. This will also help offset pressure on weight-bearing joints.
- Heat therapy – Ice therapy is the best option for the first 1-2 days to reduce swelling due to injury. But after that, applying heat will help promote flexibility and reduce stiffness. Using store-bought heating pad or heating a damp towel in the microwave (at 20-second increments until it reaches the desired temperature) is also advised. Make sure not to apply too much of heat as this will cause skin burn.
If these self-help strategies don’t work, consult a pain management specialist at a professional multispecialty healthcare center. At a reliable center, a team of healthcare professionals will help coordinate your treatment after proper evaluation and diagnosis. Such centers offer effective non-invasive treatments to help manage pain and restore mobility and quality of life.