Medications, braces and orthotics, physical therapy, injections, and lifestyle changes can all reduce knee pain after surgery. It is important to work with a healthcare provider to determine the best treatments for knee pain. The healthcare provider will provide a variety of therapeutic and lifestyle changes that can lead to relief from knee pain.
After knee surgery, medications are commonly prescribed by the doctor. There are two types of medications that are commonly prescribed to relieve knee pain after surgery. The first is pain medication to treat lingering knee and surgical pain. The second is medication to treat the condition that caused the knee pain initially, such as medication for rheumatoid arthritis.
Braces and orthotics can be effective at alleviating knee pain after surgery. The brace or orthotic, such as an arch support, can reduce pressure on the area of the knee where most of the pain originates. Braces and orthotics recommended by a healthcare provider familiar with the individual case typically offers more relief than over the counter braces and orthotics picked up by the patient. In fact, improperly fitting and wearing orthotics may actually worsen symptoms.
Physical therapy is a common method of relieving knee pain after surgery. The physical therapist will prescribe exercises that strengthen both the front and back of the thigh. Strengthening these muscles help support and stabilize the knee. Additionally, balance exercises are often used to reduce knee pain.
Injections of corticosteroids and hyaluronic acid are commonly used to treat knee pain after surgery. Corticosteroids are injected directly into the knee, reducing pain and inflammation for several months. There are drawbacks of corticosteroids, including the fact that they are not always effective, and there is a small risk of infection any time something is injected directly into the joint.
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally-occurring fluid found in healthy joints. Injecting it into damaged joints provides lubrication and reduces pain. Pain relief generally lasts for six to 12 months.
There are a variety of lifestyle changes that can reduce the pain associated with knee surgery. Rest may be enough to reduce strain on the knee. Applying ice to the knee will reduce inflammation and swelling, often providing pain relief as well. It is best not apply ice for longer than 20 minutes at a time to prevent damaging the skin.
Compression, by wrapping the knee, prevents fluid from building up in the healing tissue, relieving pain. Elevating the knee encourages fluid to drain away from the joint, reducing swelling. Using a combination of these methods, resting with the leg elevated and an ice pack, for example, can greatly reduce knee pain after surgery.