Home Remedies For Popping Knees
It’s happened to everyone at some point. You kneel down, bend over, or squat and you hear the inevitable crack or pop. Your knees are one of most complicated joints in the body and also the largest. They are an important part of maintaining your balance and stability while walking, running, and jumping. Given how important they are to your daily functions, it’s not wonder they start to show strain under all that pressure.
That popping or cracking sound is not necessarily something serious or a sign that anything is wrong. As we age the soft tissue that covers these joints, called cartilage, starts to form unevenly over the bone. When the joint moves, these uneven areas glide over one another and cause that popping sound we all know. The only reason to be concerned is if the noise is accompanied by any pain and swelling. If that’s the case, see your doctor, as it could be something more serious such as meniscus tears or a cartilage injury.
#1. Healthy Body Weight
A simple home remedy to avoid any additional stress on your knees is being maintaining a healthy body weight. If you are concerned by that the noise in your knees, losing weight might be the first step.
Exercise is also another vital natural remedy for maintaining the strength in all your joints, and, more specifically, regular stretching can keep your knees, cartilage and ligaments in optimal condition and help to reduce all those many pops.
Here are a few soft tissue therapy exercises you can do from the comfort of your home.
#3. Calf Release
Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you and place your hands behind your back for support. Take a tennis ball and place it under your calf and cross your other leg over top. Slowly roll your calf and leg over the tennis ball. Once you reach a tender spot, hold for thirty seconds while pointing your foot up and down. This will help to relieve your tight calf muscles that may be shifting your balance and weakening your kneecaps.
#4. Hip Flex Release
Your hips are one of the fundamental load bearing joints. If your hips are not aligned properly, your knees will have to deal with the displaced weight. Knee pain is often related to hip problems. Start this exercise by taping two tennis balls together and place them just under your hip bones as you lie on your stomach. Lean into the tennis balls. Bend the knee on one side to 90 degrees and swing your leg side to side. Alternate to the other leg. Repeat exercise in 30 second to 2 minute intervals.
#5. IT Band Release
One of the most common injuries for runners is a tightened or inflamed IT Band. This ligament runs down the thigh from the hip to the shin and is attached at the knee and helps keep the joint stabilized and moving. To work on your IT Band, lie down on your side and place a foam roller under your bottom leg, between your knee and hip. Slowly move your leg over the roller, sliding it from the top of knee to the base of your hip. If you find that there is more specific specific area you’d like to focus on, stop the foam roller at the area and bend your knee 90 degree angle and then straighten. Repeat in 10 to 15 second intervals.
#6. Side Steps with Resistance Band
Your knees are only as strong as the muscles that surround and support it. The outer muscles tend of the thigh tend to be weaker than those on the inner thigh, which can lead to an imbalance that could impact your knees. This exercise will help you build the strength in these important muscles. Start with a resistance band pulled up to knee level and lower into squat position. Move two steps to right, then two steps to your left, stretching the resistance band as you go. If this is too uncomfortable you can also stand for this exercise instead of squatting.
#7. Inner Thigh Squats
This exercise will help you strengthen your inner thighs, which again will reduce the impact of any imbalance in your muscles. With your feet shoulders width apart and your toes pointed out at a 45 degree angle, carefully bring your hips down into a squat. While squatting, move your knees outwards and go down as low as you can and then push back up using your heels.
#8. Vastus Medialis Oblique (VMO) Activation
The VMO is the muscle that runs along your kneecap and is often one of the weaker of in the thighs so it’s important to regular exercise it. Begin in a split stance and squat about halfway down. While squatting turn your front leg to the right and hold for 3 to 5 seconds. Release and with the balls of your feet push yourself back up.
If you do these exercises regularly you are guaranteed to have stronger and healthier knees that keep you supported with minimal popping. In summary, keep strengthening those knees.
#9. Right Way To Do Squats
Also keep in mind that doing squats improperly is actually terrible for your knees. While doing squats follow these guidelines: Partial squats only strengthen part of your body and can lead to imbalances. Your hip joint must come lower than your knee joint in a proper squat.
Do not squat straight down. Squat with your hips first so you don’t end up bouncing on your knees. Make sure that you both your knees and feet are facing out as you squat and keep your heels on the floor. Work to improve hip mobility. If you have problems with the mobility of your hips your knees will be forced to compensate and, therefore, eroding some of your stability.
Also focus on building up your ankles and glutes. These muscles and joints all work together in balance. If one is weak it can compromise the others. In addition to watching for proper squatting technique, also make sure that if you are jumping, even if it’s a slight leap down from somewhere, that you are landing properly. That means landing in a half squat position so that your muscles absorb the force and not your joints.
#10. Warm Up
Before you do any exercise, remember to warm up. This will raise your body temperature, keep your joints lubricated, and help you to avoid injury. If something is hurting your joints, chances are you’re doing it wrong! As a final note, maintaining healthy joints means fueling your body properly. The right nutrients can help improve the quality of your joints. Healthy oil fats like those found in fish, have been shown to reduce that inflammation that is so destructive to your joints. Fruits and veggies, especially those with antioxidants like berries can also help improve the health of your connective tissues.
Popping knees are a common ailment but it doesn’t have to persistent problem. You can fight back against the creaks and cracks without investing a lot of time and effort. All it takes is a bit of regular and properly executed exercise and soft tissue work.