Treatment should begin with the most basic steps and progress to the more invasive, possibly including surgery. The range of options includes:
- Weight Loss - Probably one of the most important, yet least commonly performed treatments. The less weight the joint has to carry, the less painful activities will be.
- Activity Modification - Limiting certain activities may be necessary, and learning new, low-impact exercise methods may be helpful.
- Walking Aids - Use of a cane in the hand opposite the affected knee, or using walking poles, will help decrease the demand placed on the arthritic joint.
- Physical Therapy - Strengthening of the muscles around the knee joint may help decrease the burden on the knee. Preventing atrophy of the muscles is an important part of maintaining functional use of the knee.
- Anti-Inflammatory Medications - Anti-inflammatory pain medications (NSAIDs) are prescription and nonprescription drugs that help treat pain and inflammation.
- Knee Osteotomy - While most patients are not good candidates for this alternative to knee replacement, it can be effective for young patients with limited arthritis.
- Knee Replacement Surgery - In this procedure, the cartilage is removed from the entire knee joint and a metal & plastic implant is inserted in its place.
- Partial Knee Replacement - It is a surgical option for the treatment of arthritis limited to only a portion of the knee joint.
Not all treatments are appropriate for every patient, and you should have a discussion with your doctor to determine which treatments are appropriate for your particular situation.
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