Knee osteoarthritis is a common cause of chronic knee pain and a type of arthritis associated with wear and tear of the knee joint over time. While it can be worsened by prior and future injuries, it’s almost always related to aging. The cartilage around the knee is so degenerated that the bones rub together and joints become inflamed.
Osteoarthritis of the knee can be debilitating, with pain in and around the knee joint making it difficult to walk, sleep, and perform daily activities.
In some cases, knee replacement is the only option. But for many, nonsurgical options are effective in lessening pain and inflammation, increasing range of motion, and improving quality of life. These options may be used individually or in combination.
One of the most common forms of nonsurgical treatment for knee osteoarthritis pain is medication. A regimen of non-narcotic pain relievers, corticosteroid injections, and/or non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications can reduce pain and inflammation.
Another common nonsurgical treatment is physical therapy. Regular sessions with a physical therapist and exercises specifically developed for knee osteoarthritis can improve flexibility, range of motion, mobility, and muscle strength.
Braces and Assistive Devices
There are several devices that can stabilize and support the knee while reducing physical stress and relieving pain. These devices include knee braces, shoe inserts, knee sleeves, crutches, and canes.
Although knee pain may make it difficult to engage in physical activity, strengthening the muscles around the knee joint can make the knee more stable. Ask your doctor about exercises that are safe for your condition.
In overweight people with knee osteoarthritis, losing even a few pounds can help alleviate stress and pressure on the weight-bearing knee joint.
You don’t have to live with debilitating knee pain, and knee osteoarthritis doesn’t always require surgery. The Orthopedics experts at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic can determine the severity of your condition and recommended nonsurgical treatments to alleviate pain and get you moving again.
Dr. Nwaeze is a board-certified physician specializing in Orthopedics and Sports Medicine at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. He cares for patients at Spring Medical and Diagnostic Center, Summer Creek Clinic, The Vintage Clinic, and The Woodlands Clinic. His clinical interests include nonoperative fracture management, musculoskeletal pain, and office procedures such as joint and tendon sheath injections.