Home Remedies for Arthritis of the Knees

Arthritis is a condition that causes pain and deterioration of the body’s joints. While it can affect any joint, arthritis presents special mobility challenges when it occurs in the knees. There are a variety of home remedies for arthritis of the knees, including nutritional and herbal supplements, exercises and topical therapies.

Cayenne (Capsaicin)

Cayenne pepper is a well-known remedy for joint pain. It contains capsaicin—a warming compound with potent painkilling properties. When applied to painful joints, capsaicin causes local irritation that distracts the brain from the underlying pain source. It is found in many over-the-counter arthritis creams and can be taken internally to stimulate the release of endorphins, which act as the body’s own pain-fighting chemicals.

For a simple homemade arthritis cream, sprinkle cayenne powder into olive oil, lotion or another carrier substance, mix thoroughly and apply to painful joints. Cayenne should not be taken orally by people with certain gastrointestinal disorders such as ulcers or GERD, or by anyone allergic to capsaicin or any of its components.

Ginger Root

Ginger is another highly effective remedy for inflammation and pain caused by arthritis. According to the Arthritis Today, ginger eases the pain and swelling of both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis while helping improve circulation. Unlike cayenne, ginger fights pain and inflammation without causing local irritation and may be better suited for those with sensitive skin.

Ginger root can be brewed into a tasty tea or taken in supplement form for its inflammation-fighting effects. Up to four grams of ginger may be taken daily, though mild side effects like mouth burning and belching may occur with higher doses. Because it can thin the blood, ginger should not be taken with other blood thinning medications or herbs.

Heat Therapy

Heat therapy is a wonderful home remedy for treating arthritis of the knees. According to Merck.com, heat improves circulation and increases flexibility of connective tissues, resulting in decreased pain and stiffness in joints.

The healing properties of heat may be utilized in many ways. Hot water, a heating pad and hot packs are all effective ways of using heat to manage knee arthritis symptoms at home, while ultrasound and other types of heat therapy may be administered in a doctor’s office.


Glucosamine is among the most well-known arthritis supplements. In the body, it serves as a precursor to a substance found in joint cartilage. Glucosamine supplements were originally thought to restore damaged joint cartilage, but have since been proven ineffective for this purpose.

Still, glucosamine may be useful for symptomatic relief in patients with arthritis of the knees. According to the National Institutes of Health, subjects taking glucosamine experienced decreased pain and improved range of motion in arthritic joints, suggesting that glucosamine may be a helpful ally in the fight against arthritis pain.

People with diabetes should use caution when taking glucosamine as it may affect blood sugar levels. The average dose of glucosamine for treating arthritis is 1.5g per day.

About this Author

Based in Las Vegas, Tracii Hanes is a freelance writer specializing in health and psychology with over six years of professional experience. She got her start as a news reporter, and has since focused exclusively on freelance writing, contributing to websites like Wellsphere, Education Portal and eHow Health. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication arts from Southwestern Oklahoma State University.