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What can I do About Knee Arthritis?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 06 January 2020
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Knee arthritis can be very painful, often even limiting a person's ability to move about and enjoy a normal quality of life. There are many treatment options available to someone dealing with this condition. The right treatment depends on the extent of the arthritis and the amount of pain the patient is suffering. Often, a doctor will prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) to treat the pain and inflammation common with knee arthritis. They are typically stronger than those that can be purchased over the counter.

Simple lifestyle changes may be helpful for treating knee arthritis. For example, substituting exercises like walking for high-impact activities like running can go a long way toward reducing some of the stress put on the knee. It may also be helpful to limit things like walking up and down the stairs. It may even be helpful to lose weight, as doing so can help lessen stress on the knee and make moving about easier.

Sometimes special exercises are used to treat knee arthritis. For example, a doctor may refer arthritis patients to a physical therapist who can help them learn exercises designed to increase flexibility and improve their range of motion. Sometimes special knee braces are used as well. In some cases, wedged shoes may even be helpful in dealing with knee arthritis.

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Injectable medications are sometimes used to treat knee arthritis. For example, corticosteroids may be injected into the knee joint for those who experience moderate-to-severe pain and swelling. Sometimes fluids are added through a series of injections intended to help lubricate the knee joint. In some cases, gold salt injections may even be used. However, they are typically reserved for rheumatoid arthritis.

Unfortunately, for some people, medication, exercises, and braces don't provide enough help; sometimes surgery is necessary instead. There are a few different types of surgery that may be used to treat knee arthritis. One type, called arthroscopic surgery, involves using special technology to let a surgeon view the inside of a person's knee and clean any debris found; torn cartilage may also be repaired with this type of surgery. An osteotomy involves cutting the tibia and the femur in order to change the alignment of the knee. In some cases, surgery is used to replace all or part of the cartilage in a person's knee.

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