Treatment of knee arthritis includes non-surgical and surgical options.
Non-surgical methods aim to relieve pain and improve mobility. These include:
- Exercise, which plays a role in reducing weight and therefore pressure on the knee joints. Low-impact exercises such as cycling or swimming are preferable. Studies also show that individuals who exercise regularly experience less pain.
- Physiotherapy is important to improve strength to reduce pressure on the knees and to improve range of motion.
- Home-based aids such as a compression sleeve or knee brace can help support the knee joint
- Pain-relief medication including over-the-counter medicines and prescription painkillers. All medications should be taken with care and according to your doctor’s instruction.
- Corticosteroid, hyaluronic acid or platelet-rich plasma injections are injected directly into the knee and may reduce pain for a limited period of time.
Surgery for knee arthritis may be recommended to repair or remove damaged portions of the knee joint to relieve pain, if non-surgical options are unsuccessful. Procedures include:
- Arthroscopy to treat a torn meniscus
- Cartilage grafting to replace damaged cartilage
- Synovectomy to remove joint lining damaged by rheumatoid arthritis
- Osteotomy to reshape the thighbone or shinbone to relieve pressure on the knee joint
- Arthroplasty (partial or total knee replacement) removes damaged cartilage and bone, inserting a metal or plastic piece to replace it
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