When it comes to relieving knee pain, there are many different treatment options. For some people, early intervention treatments like those below may help restore knee function and reduce pain.

Heat/cold therapies

The use of heat or cold over joints may provide short-term relief from pain and stiffness. Cold packs can help reduce inflammation and swelling and may be useful for flare-ups. Heat can aid in relaxing muscles and increasing circulation.

 

Low-impact exercise

Low-impact exercise, such as joint and muscle exercises, can improve strength and flexibility. A common myth is that exercise will "wear out" joints, however, when done properly, low-impact exercise, such as walking or jogging, may help to reduce pain and improve function or movement.1

 

Weight management

Weight loss helps to eas pain by reducing the amount of stress on your joints. One reaserch study suggested that for each pound of body weight lost, there was a four pound reduction in knee joint stress among overweight and obese people with osteoarthritis of the knee.2

 

Physical and occupational therapy

Physical therapists can work with you to create a personalized exercise program and show you how to use therapeutic heat and massages to potentially reduce pain. In addition, occupational therapists can introduce you to beneficial devices, such as those used to elevate chairs or toilet-seats.

 

Bracing

Different types of braces may help reduce knee pain and improve function and mobility. A "support" brace supports the entire load on your knee. An "unloader" supports the weight on only one side of the knee, when only one side of the knee is damaged.

 

Medication

Both prescription and over-the-counter medications can be used to treat symptoms of osteoarthritis and control pain. Commonly used medications include, but are not limited to, aspirin-free pain relievers, anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, disease modifying drugs and sleep medications when pain prevents or interferes with sleep.

It is imprtant to talk to your doctor about all medications and dietary supplements you are considering taking, even those available without a prescription.

 

Injections

Knee injections, either corticosteroid or hyaluronic,may be used in patients whose osteoarthritis knee pain does not respond to medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or simple pain relievers such as acetaminophen. Synovial fluid acts as a lubricant and shock absorber to help your knee joints move smoothly. In the early stages of osteoarthritis, synovial fluid can begin to lose some of its hyaluronic acid content and joints can become painful.Be sure to consult your doctor to discuss the best treatment plan for you.

1. Arthritis - Physical Activity Programs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/interventions/physical-activity.html

2. Small Weight Loss Takes Big Pressure Off Knee. WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/news/20050629/small-weight-loss-takes-pressure-off-knee

3. Injections and Procedures for Knee Pain. Arthritis Foundation.http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/where-it-hurts/knee-pain/treatment/knee-injection.php

4. Hyaluronic Acid Injections for Osteoarthritis. Arthritis Foundation. http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/medication/drug-types/other/hyaluronic-acid-injections.php

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