Knee pain is a common medical condition that affects everyone, irrespective of age. While the condition is often caused by arthritis among the elderly, it can result from many causes, with injury and overuse being the most common causes among most people.
In severe instances, knee pain can be debilitating and affect a person’s quality of life and mobility. If you have knee pains affecting your life or know someone with such a problem, it is essential to consider the available treatment options.
Non-Surgical Treatment Options
There are two main options when seeking treatment for your knee pain; surgical and non-surgical treatment. In most cases, a doctor may prescribe a surgical knee treatment where all other options may not be applicable. Some common types of treatment for knee pain without surgery worth looking at include:
Medication is almost always the first go-to option for treating knee pain. This option is most applicable in the initial stages of pain. The first option when medicating knee pain is over-the-counter pain and anti-inflammation medication such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen. This option should be used for not more than several days.
If your pain is severe, your doctor can prescribe more effective pain medications such as no steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids. Pain and anti-inflammatory medication are best used for a short period. If the pain persists, the treating doctor will often pair the pain medication with other treatment regimens.
2. Joint Fluid Therapy
Joint fluid therapy is a non-surgical option for treating knee osteoarthritis. This procedure aims to improve the quality of the joint (synovial) fluid through a series of injections administered to the knee to cushion, lubricate, and protect the joint.
Increasing the synovial fluid improves the joint’s mobility and reduces pain. This therapy is non-invasive and does not require any form of anesthesia, making it an appealing option for individuals seeking to manage their knee pain. Studies show that the effectiveness of this option lasts around six months, so you may have to get it once or twice each year.
3. Physical Therapy
Physical therapy involves exercises and activities to strengthen and stabilize the knee joint. This option helps treat knee pain resulting from several causes, such as osteoarthritis, ligament injuries, and overuse.
The best approach to physical therapy is starting small and building on your progress based on your therapist’s advice. So only ensure that you get physical therapy from a certified physiotherapist to increase your chances of better outcomes.
If your pain keeps getting worse and non-surgical options do not yield desired results, your doctor may prescribe surgical options such as:
4. Knee Arthroscopy Surgery
Knee Arthroscopy surgery is a minimally invasive surgical procedure where the doctor makes a small incision on the knee and then inserts a fiber optic camera. The doctor relies on the camera to view the inside of the knee, repair injury, and clean out debris such as bone chippings.
The procedure is used for various knee conditions such as torn cartilage, ligament injuries, and osteoarthritis. The surgery takes less than an hour under local anesthesia and requires a short stay at the hospital for recovery.
5. Knee Replacement
Total knee replacement is almost as the name sounds. It involves removing the damaged part of the knee and replacing it with metals or a plastic implant. This option is often recommended to patients with severe degenerative knee problems and can be invasive.
Also, the healing process can be quite lengthy, and the patient often requires physical therapy to regain normal function of the knee after repair.
Osteotomy is a surgical procedure involving the cutting and repositioning of the thigh and the shin bones to realign the weight-bearing line and relieve pressure from the affected part of the knee.
This procedure aims to delay or avoid knee replacement which is more invasive and has lesser chances of success. Like knee replacement procedures, you may require physical therapy after an osteotomy.