Arthritis is a chronic condition that involves inflammation in the joints. Arthritis forms because the cartilage between joints wears down, leaving bones to rub against other bones, causing inflammation and pain. Apple cider vinegar is a traditional folk remedy for arthritis; however, there is no scientific research in support of this. Always consult your physician before trying any alternative remedy.
Arthritis is the most common disability in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, affecting nearly 21 million Americans. There are over 100 different types of arthritis that vary in severity, but osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease, is the most common type. No cure has been found for arthritis but treatment for the painful condition helps relieve symptoms. Pain medication, physical therapy and surgery are some options for people with arthritis.
Over-the-counter medications — such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen (Aleve, others) — may help ease knee pain. Some people find relief by rubbing their knees with creams containing a numbing agent, such as lidocaine or capsaicin, the substance that makes chili peppers hot.
Self-care measures for an injured knee include: Rest. Take a break from your normal activities to reduce repetitive strain on your knee, give the injury time to heal and help prevent further damage. A day or two of rest may be all you need for a minor injury. More severe damage is likely to need a longer recovery time. Ice. Ice reduces both pain and inflammation. A bag of frozen peas works well because it covers your whole knee. You can also use an ice pack wrapped in a thin towel to protect your skin. Although ice therapy is generally safe and effective, don’t use ice for longer than 20 minutes at a time because of the risk of damage to your nerves and skin. Compression. This helps prevent fluid buildup in damaged tissues and maintains knee alignment and stability. Look for a compression bandage that’s lightweight, breathable and self-adhesive. It should be tight enough to support your knee without interfering with circulation. Elevation. To help reduce swelling, try propping your injured leg on pillows or sitting in a recliner.
Aloe vera is one of the most commonly used herbs in alternative medicine. Known for its healing properties, it is popular for treating small skin abrasions. You may already have a bottle of aloe vera gel in the medicine cabinet from a past experience with sunburn for pain relief. This same type of product may be applied topically to soothe achy joints. Like aloe vera, eucalyptus is widely available in western markets. It is used in oral medications, and topical oil extracts are used for a variety of conditions. Topical forms of eucalyptus leaves are used to treat arthritis pain. According to UMMC, these plant leaves contain tannins, which may be helpful in reducing swelling and the resulting pain that arthritis causes. Some users follow up with heat pads to maximize the effects of eucalyptus on swollen joints.