If you have experienced knee pain, then you know that it can be debilitating. Our knees are the connectors between bones, they provide support and enable movement. Any damage to our knees due to arthritis can significantly hinder movement and cause pain. Knee pain can spark thoughts of surgery, and sometimes replacement surgery is needed. However, there are non-surgical options to explore before surgical plans are made.
After diagnosing the cause of knee pain, health care providers will seek to reduce pain and inflammation and preserve joint function.
Here are 7 non-surgical treatments to try before surgery:
- An over-the-counter or prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as aspirin, celecoxib, ibuprofen, or naproxen can relieve pain.
- Topical agents such as capsaicin cream, which decreases a certain natural substance in your body (substance P) that helps pass pain signals to the brain; or menthyl salicylate, which causes the skin to feel cool and then warm, can distract from the deeper joint pain.
- Steroid injections are the most common injected treatment for joint pain and are administered every 3 to 4 months.
- Platelet-rich plasma therapy is an injection made up of your own blood and injected into the injured joint, which contains many platelets and proteins that have anti-inflammatory effects.
- Viscosupplementation, which is a synthetic gel version of joint fluid, can be injected into the joint to enable bones to move smoothly.
- Physical Therapy can be used to strengthen the muscles around the injured joint, stabilize the joint, and improve the range of motion.
- An at-home treatment method known by the acronym PRICE:
- Protect the area to avoid pain and further injury.
- Rest to promote healing.
- Ice the injury to reduce inflammation.
- Compress the area to further reduce swelling.
- Elevate the injury above your heart to continue healing.
- Activity Modification:
- Follow an exercise program to maintain your strength and range of motion. Exercises such as walking, swimming, and yoga are excellent low-impact exercises.
- Minimize the frequency of activities that cause you joint pain. Let someone else help you with tasks that may require these movements.
- Do not do tasks that require repetitive movements that can result in pain. This may require reorganizing your house to avoid constant kneeling, bending, etc.
- Weight Loss can have a significant impact on your joint health. Just one pound of weight loss reduces the force placed on the joint by 8 pounds.
If you are suffering from knee pain, don’t immediately assume that surgery is the only option in your future. Dr. Frisch is committed to helping you find the treatment plan that’s right for you.
Dr. Nicholas Frisch is a specialist orthopedic surgeon focusing on minimally invasive hip and knee joint replacement as well as complex primary and revision surgery. He believes in creating a very personalized experience with the highest level of service. Visit one of our offices located in Rochester, River District, or Tawas City, MI.