Osteoarthritis is a condition that everyone eventually develops as they get older. You can experience joint stiffness, swelling and pain in your knees as a result of this condition. There are a number of treatments that are effective in getting your symptoms under control so that you can maintain your quality of life.
There are several therapies that can help with arthritis. There are four primary options that your doctor can discuss with you:
- Weight loss therapy: Getting to a healthy weight can reduce the stress on your knees which helps to alleviate the pain.
- Shoe inserts or braces: These help to relieve pressure on your knees to reduce pain when walking or standing.
- Occupational therapy: This type of therapy allows you to learn how to adjust your daily activities to protect your knees. For example, you can place a bench in your shower so that you can sit down to bathe, relieving pressure on your knees.
- Physical therapy: This can reduce pain and increase range of motion by strengthening the muscles that surround your knees.
Medications are commonly used to alleviate the symptoms of arthritis and there are two primary medications used:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: This type of medication reduces pain and inflammation. There are both topical and oral versions of this type of drug, as well as over-the-counter and prescription options.
- Acetaminophen: Those who cannot take NSAID drugs might consider this medication. However, while it reduces pain it does not relieve inflammation.
Other Treatment Options
There are other treatments your doctor can discuss with you if therapy and medications fail to provide relief from knee arthritis. These include:
- Lubrication injections: These include injecting hyaluronic acid directly into the knee joint to cushion your knees. This provides shock absorption so that there is less pain when you move and walk.
- Cortisone injections: Cortisone is a steroid so it helps to reduce pain and inflammation in your knee joint. The one limitation to this therapy is that too much cortisone can actually damage your joints, so you can only have this done a few times per year.
- Joint replacement: In the most severe cases of knee arthritis, you might need to have your knees replaced with an artificial joint to restore function.
In most cases, you will use two or more treatments to get relief from your symptoms. Always talk to your doctor first to make sure that you are using treatments that will be effective and safe for you.