Good for knee pain

How to alleviate knee pain

Knee problems often occur at an advanced age: every fourth person over 60 struggles with them, women are more likely to be affected than men. In many cases there are signs of wear and tear - the medical diagnosis is called "knee osteoarthritis". The knee usually only hurts at the beginning of a movement or during long-term exercise. Over time, climbing stairs and going downhill become difficult and the knee feels stiff after periods of rest. After all, the knee hurts even at night and at rest, and movement becomes increasingly difficult. In these cases, the only thing that can help is surgery, i.e. joint replacement.

For mild or moderate knee osteoarthritis, however, there are a number of measures and active ingredients that you can use to reduce wear and tear. Often, over-the-counter preparations from the pharmacy are sufficient for the treatment.

Note: Always have your knee pain checked by a doctor! In addition to signs of wear and tear, there can also be a rheumatic disease, the consequences of injuries or infections that require special treatment.

Get a grip on acute pain episodes

To combat wear-related knee pain, the experts first recommend rubbing the knee with pain gels that contain non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs such as diclofenac, ibuprofen or felbinac). NSAID gels improve the functioning of the knee joint and relieve arthritis pain. In addition, the gels have the advantage that the active ingredients only get into the bloodstream in small doses and therefore hardly cause any side effects. For example, Diclo-ratiopharm are available®Pain gel, Voltaren®Pain gel, Thermacare®Pain gel or proff®Pain cream.

If rubbing in with pain gels is not enough, NSAIDs are also available as oral tablets (for example Diclofenac Zentiva film-coated tablets, Dolormin®extra film-coated tablets or Togal naproxen film-coated tablets). Since NSAIDs can damage the gastric mucosa, the dosage should be as low as possible. For patients with sensitive stomachs, the doctor often also prescribes stomach protection (for example proton pump inhibitors such as omeprazole) or prescribes an active ingredient that is better tolerated by the stomach, a so-called coxib such as celecoxib or etoricoxib.

Note: NSAID tablets are not intended for long-term treatment! Only take them while the pain is acute. If heartburn, bloating, or stomach pain occur during therapy, see a doctor immediately.

Plant power right on the knee

Creams and gels made from plant extracts can also help with knee pain. They relieve pain by promoting blood circulation and / or by being anti-inflammatory. For example, the following active ingredients are used:

  • Cayenne pepper, for example in ABC®Warming cream Capsicum Hansaplast med or Finalgon CPD warming cream
  • Comfrey root extract, for example in Kytta®Pain ointment or trauma plant®cream
  • Rosemary, eucalyptus and peppermint oils, for example in Sogoon®Pain cream or Allgäu mountain pine®Pain cream.

tip: Chronic, wear-related knee pain is more responsive to warmth. Cold packs, on the other hand, help with acute rheumatic or infection-related knee pain.

Herbal medicine in tablet form

Herbal ingredients are also used in tablet or capsule form against mild to moderate knee pain caused by arthritis. The active ingredients offered include devil's claw (for example in Jacurba®forte film-coated tablets or Rivoltan Teufelskralle film-coated tablets) Willow bark (for example in willow bark pain dragees) Nettle extract (for example in Hox alpha hard capsules or Natulind tablets) or combination preparations made from various extracts (Phytodolor®Tincture). In addition, products from the spice shelf should also help: both ginger and turmeric are offered to relieve joint pain, for example.

Whether devil's claw, nettle, ginger or turmeric: the effect of these active ingredients is assessed differently by orthopedic surgeons, and even the various guidelines for the treatment of osteoarthritis do not agree on their recommendations. Ultimately, everyone concerned has to try out for themselves whether their knee pain benefits from such herbal remedies.

tip: Ginger not only relieves pain as a tea or capsule, but also locally directly on the knee: To do this, the tuber is pureed, the paste is spread over the painful joint and left there for 15 to 30 minutes.

Strengthen the cartilage in the long term

A number of substances are also offered that have a positive effect on synovial fluid and cartilage and are intended to stop joint wear and tear. They are lubricated, ingested, or injected into the joint by a doctor. However, whether these substances work is controversial. Be available:

  • Glucosamine. As a component of sugar chains in synovial fluid and cartilage, the administration of glucosamine is said to improve the synovial fluid. It is in gel form, for example in hirudoid®forte gel available. In tablet form, it is called dona, among other things®Film-coated tablets or Voltaflex®Glucosamine hydrochloride film-coated tablets are offered.
  • Chondroitin sulfate. The active ingredient is part of the cartilage mass and, if taken regularly, is supposed to improve the function of the joint and reduce pain. Chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine sulfate are offered together with vitamins and minerals as dietary supplements in capsules, for example in Arthroplus capsules, Artrostar compact II, Orthomol®arthroplus and flexiLoges®Joint nutrition. In gel form, for example, it is in Mobilat®Duo active gel available.
  • Collagen. Collagen is the protein structure of cartilage and bones. It is offered as a collagen hydrolyzate in the form of powder, tablets or drinking bottles and is said to have a positive effect on bones, cartilage, skin and connective tissue.

tip: Hyaluronic acid is an important component of cartilage and synovial fluid. Those who are not afraid of injections can have hyaluronic acid injected into the painful joint by the doctor. Hyaluronic acid injections are recommended by the specialist societies, if z. B. NSAID tablets are not tolerated.

From mud to tai chi

There are a number of other recommendations, especially for mild and moderate knee osteoarthritis symptoms. Some experts recommend mud packs or mud packs, others to acupuncture as supportive measures. Knee supports or knee braces can also help; their use should be discussed with the attending physician. Physical procedures such as electrical stimulation (TENS), shock waves, microwave, ultrasound or laser therapy can certainly alleviate the pain associated with knee osteoarthritis. However, the experts advise against infrared rays or magnetic field therapy.

In the symptom-free times, exercise therapy improves the mobility and resilience of the affected knee. However, it must be individually adapted to the extent of the osteoarthritis. Above all, strengthening, stretching and balance exercises, treadmill training and tai chi come into question.

tip: In many places there are knee sports groups or rehabilitation sports groups especially for patients with knee osteoarthritis. There you can learn the right exercises for your knee problem.

Prevention is better

Even if professional societies and experts rate plant medicine, hyaluronic acid & Co differently in osteoarthritis, there is agreement that the following measures help to stop wear and tear on the knee joint:

  • Maintain normal weight: Every extra pound puts extra strain on the knee
  • Avoid activities that strain the knees (cleaning, tiling, playing with the grandchildren on the floor)
  • Do sports that are easy on the joints, such as swimming, cycling or water aerobics.

Those who stick to this and react early in the event of wear-related knee problems can often stop mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis and make it bearable with an individual combination of medication, pain gels, exercise therapy and physical measures.

Source: Claudia Bruhn, DAZ 2019, No. 27, page 36


Dr. med. Sonja Kempinski | last changed on at 16:20