Anti-inflammatory meds before or after exercise? (knee pain)

I am getting back into the gym after months of inactivity. My biggest enemy is bad knees - slow jogs, fast walks, and too much resistance on the elliptical machine - all will at some point cause pain along the side of my knee (I’m 99% sure it’s the iliotibial band).

In the past when this has occurred, once it starts it continues to get worse unless I take enough time off for it to heal completely (usually several days). Obviously this doesn’t help my plan to exercise 5-6 days per week.

I’m just trying to keep it from becoming a problem. Is there any value in treating with a mild anti-inflammatory, and if so - do I take it before or after exercise? I also wear ilio-tibial band compresses and stretch before/after exercise…but it seems very random as to the days that the pain occurs.


IANAD and I’ve got different issues, but, FWIW…

I’m having some hip pain that I assume is a recurrence of bursitis. I have been taking ibuprofen after I finish my run or bike, and I take some right before bedtime. With NSAIDs, I think (and I hope one of our medical dopers will correct me if I’m wrong) it’s important to take them consistently, not just take them because you hurt especially badly that day.

IANAD, but I do have bad knees.

NSAIDs work over time. They lower overall inflammation levels, which prevents a self-reinforcing cycle of inflammation and pain in joints.

It shouldn’t matter when you take them…just take enough of your NSAID of choice to stay in your system.

Be aware that not all NSAIDs work well for all people. I personally find that Naproxen Sodium (Aleve) doesn’t help me, but Ibuprofen does. I currently take Meloxicam, which is a prescription strength NSAID.


Thanks! It sounds like I need to be consistent - I thought anti-inflammatory meds were one-shot deals, so I’m glad to have my ignorance fought!