According to recent studies, up to 25% of American adults (one in four) suffer from chronic knee pain. If you are one of them, you know how disruptive a nagging knee problem can be to your mobility and quality of life.
Depending on the cause and severity of your condition, you have various options to treat your knee arthritis and pain – including a total knee arthroplasty. Your orthopedic doctor will only recommend having knee replacement surgery if your knee arthritis is severe, and if nonsurgical treatments have not worked to relieve your knee pain and restore your mobility.
Let’s talk about some of the popular nonsurgical alternatives that are used to treat knee pain and knee arthritis, and where you can go across the Raleigh area to see an experienced knee surgeon who knows how to help you get rid of that knee pain once and for all.
Nonsurgical Treatment Options Before Undergoing Knee Replacement Surgery
Five excellent options for treating mild or moderate knee arthritis include:
- Low-impact exercise – Moving your knee joints can help to control your pain by building muscle strength that helps support your knees. Exercise also improves your knee flexibility, thereby reducing stiffness while helping to prevent fluid buildup around your knees.Recommended low-impact exercises include walking, cycling, swimming, strength training, and yoga. Start slowly, and work your way up to a regular exercise routine three to five times per week. If you experience any pain, stop – you may need to adjust the type of exercise you’re doing to strengthen your knees and reduce your knee pain.
- Weight loss – Your knees bear much of the weight of your upper body, especially when walking or standing – which can ultimately result in wear and tear of your knee joints. If you are overweight, shedding those excess pounds can greatly help to alleviate your knee pain. In fact, a single pound lost can eliminate four pounds’ worth of force on your knees.
- Targeted physical therapy – Also known as rehabilitation, physical therapy combines exercise, education, and the hands-on care of a therapist to help strengthen and loosen your muscles and joints. When following a personalized physical therapy treatment plan, you can improve your knee mobility, reduce knee swelling, and improve your balance, as well as learn how to perform regular activities in such a way as to avoid causing knee pain and further injury.
- Joint supplements or anti-inflammatory medications– Certain supplements, such as glucosamine and chondroitin – which are substances found in cartilage – have been shown to reduce knee pain by maintaining cartilage integrity and slowing cartilage deterioration in joints. However, you should speak with your orthopedic doctor first to find out whether specific supplements are a good option for you. Prescription strength or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications can also decrease pain and swelling in the knee that comes from arthritis.
- Pain-relief injections – Also known as a cortisone or steroid shot, the physician-administered corticosteroid injections can help reduce inflammation in the knee joint and provide significant pain relief. The effects of these and other steroid injections can provide pain relief for variable amounts of time. This medication is injected directly into your painful knee.
Another injectable option is hyaluronic acid, which is a fluid that your body makes naturally but can be supplemented to help lubricate your joints to help reduce knee pain and other types of joint pain. Note, however, that several injections of hyaluronic acid may be required over the course of a few weeks before you feel any pain relief.
Total Knee Arthroplasty in Raleigh, North Carolina
Relief from chronic knee pain starts with an accurate diagnosis of your specific condition from a well-trained and experienced orthopedic specialist. Dr. Brett Gilbert is a board-certified and fellowship-trained hip and knee replacement surgeon who can provide that keen analysis or second opinion, and recommend and perform the best course of treatment for you.
To request a consultation with Dr. Gilbert, call our practice today at (919) 788-8797 or request an appointment online. We look forward to helping you enjoy your active lifestyle once again!