knee pain

Illustration: Libby Vanderploeg

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The Best Thing to Do for Knee Pain

Roughly one in five adults reports experiencing knee pain, according to the Institute of Medicine. "A common cause is patellofemoral pain, or stress on the kneecap, due to either too much activity or a sudden increase in activity," says Robert Marx, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. A few fixes:

Pop curcumin. The Indian spice is a potent anti-inflammatory. One 2014 study found curcumin extract was just as effective as ibuprofen in treating knee pain. Marx recommends 500 milligrams two or three times per day.

Flex your muscles. "To take pressure off your knee joints, you need to strengthen all the muscles in your lower body," says Marx. Try this move: Stand on the bottom step of a staircase (ideally nine inches high), facing downward, and lower your right leg 20 times, just barely brushing the floor with your heel. As you bring the leg back up, contract your glutes. Switch sides and repeat.

Shed the stilettos. Wearing heels that are one and a half inches or higher may prematurely age knee joints and increase osteoarthritis risk. Can't kick the habit? Mix in flats as much as possible.