Remedies for Stiffness in the Knee Joint

The knee joint is a common cause of pain for many people. There are multiple injuries and conditions associated with pain and stiffness in the knee joint. Stiffness is usually caused by inflammation or swelling in the knee. The knee can become inflamed from a sprain or strain when the ligaments or tendons are stretched. Ligaments and tendons can also tear, causing severe pain and stiffness. Arthritis is another culprit for a stiff knee.


Ice is one of the easiest ways to remedy a stiff knee. When the knee joint is injured, fluid will collect around the joint, causing it to swell. This is a response from the body, attempting to protect the injured joint. Unfortunately, the response makes it difficult to move the joint. Applying ice to the knee will decrease inflammation, thus improving range of motion. According to, the knee should be iced for 15 to 20 minutes at a time.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications include ibuprofen, acetaminophen and naproxen. These medications help decrease inflammation in the knee by decreasing prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are chemicals that cause inflammation in the body. NSAIDs need to be taken with care. They can have serious side effects when taken for long periods of time, such as stomach irritation or liver damage. According to the Mayo Clinic, NSAIDs have a ceiling effect, which means there’s a limit to how much pain they can control. Stiffness in the knee will decrease as inflammation decreases.


Many foods and herbs have anti-inflammatory properties, which will reduce stiffness. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, willow bark, which contains salicin is thought to reduce pain and inflammation. Olive oil also has the same effect. It is easy to add more olive oil in any diet by substituting it for other fats, such as butter. According to Arthritis Today, a compound in the oil, called oleocanthal, prevents the production of pro-inflammatory COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes–the same way NSAIDs work. Processed foods will increase inflammation, while fresh, whole foods will decrease inflammation.


Any time a knee joint is inflamed, exercise can help decrease stiffness. According to, exercises are important for preventing stiffness and decreasing swelling. Exercises stretch the knee and strengthen muscles around the joint. Quadriceps and hamstrings are especially important to strengthen. This helps to support the knee, preventing further injury, thus preventing swelling and stiffness.

About this Author

Brielle Thompson is a registered nurse with holistic and alternative medicine expertise. Since graduating nursing school, she has worked with various health promotion corporations, advocating for self care, nutrition, exercise and wellness. She has been a creative writer for 10 years, but within the last year, began writing for blogs and websites, including her own health promotion website.