Please Your Knees

Don't let these joints feel older than the rest of you.

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Knees are the most vexing of the body's 68 joints and are the most common reason that people visit orthopedic surgeons, says Dr. Joshua Siegel, spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. If your knee pain is constant, try ibuprofen, naproxen, or buffered aspirin. If there is no improvement after two or three weeks, see a doctor. And try these techniques:

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Go Barefoot as Often as You Can

A small study of people with osteoarthritis of the knee concluded that going shoeless can reduce the stress and impact on knees by 12 percent.

Replace High-Impact Activities

Avoid sports such as tennis and racquetball, and replace them with activities such as swimming and cycling.

Don't Be a Weekend Jock

Instead, get at least 30 minutes of moderate activity every day, even if it's just walking the dog. This keeps joints supple.

Try a Supplement

If you have osteoarthritis, try glucosamine and chondroitin. The first helps repair damaged cartilage, the latter preserves joint cartilage. Supplements vary in quality, so ask your pharmacist for a reputable brand. You need to take them for at least six to eight weeks to determine whether they work.

Get a Massage

In one study, people with osteoarthritis of the knee had improved flexibility and range of motion and reduced pain after receiving a one-hour Swedish massage twice a week for four weeks, followed by once a week for the next four weeks. Improvement remained even after the massages stopped.

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