What are the Treatments for Arthritis in the Knees?

Alex Paul

Some of the treatments for arthritis in the knees include modification of physical activity, weight loss, and painkilling medication. A person suffering from knee arthritis may also benefit from strengthening and flexibility exercises to reduce stress and strain on the joints. A physical therapist is usually required to provide a rehabilitation program as well as advice on how to control the condition. When conservative treatment for the condition fails, surgery may be considered. This can range from a relatively minor arthroscopy to a total knee replacement.

A diagram of the knee.
A diagram of the knee.

In most cases, arthritis in the knees should be treated conservatively to begin with. A person suffering from the condition may be advised to modify his or her daily routine in order to reduce stress on the knees. This can involve reducing activity levels or stopping certain activities altogether. In some cases, weight loss can reduce pain and minimize everyday stress on the joint, although this is often overlooked.

Arthritis in the knees may lead to chronic pain.
Arthritis in the knees may lead to chronic pain.

An important part of treatment of arthritis in the knees involves controlling the pain. Standard painkillers such as paracetamol can be useful. A person suffering from arthritis in the knees might also be advised to take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain and inflammation. If swelling becomes more severe, steroids may be prescribed. These treatments will only provide temporary relief, however.

A total knee arthroplasty is performed on patients who experience profound pain and mobility problems associated with osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or knee injuries.
A total knee arthroplasty is performed on patients who experience profound pain and mobility problems associated with osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or knee injuries.

Physical therapy can be effective at reducing pain due to arthritis in the knees. If the quadriceps and other muscles around the knee become stronger, less force is placed on the joints. A physical therapist may recommend certain flexibility exercises along with other treatments to help reduce pain. Sometimes exercises are performed in water in order to allow for strengthening without damaging the knee joint further.

If conservative treatment for arthritis in the knees fails to control the condition adequately, more invasive therapies may be required. A knee arthroscopy is sometimes called for because it is a minimally invasive type of surgery. It is not always effective in addressing symptoms of arthritis, however, and is often only considered for very specific purposes rather than general pain relief.

A total or partial knee replacement may be considered if the condition has become severe. In a partial knee replacement, a section of the knee is substituted. This type of treatment is most useful if the arthritis doesn’t affect the whole joint. A total knee replacement involves replacing the knee cartilage and inserting implants to reduce pain.

Physical therapy can be effective at reducing knee pain caused by arthritis.
Physical therapy can be effective at reducing knee pain caused by arthritis.

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