3. Treating Knee Pain

Once you know why your knee hurts, you have a whole world of treatment options to consider. For many, this process can be a confusing and challenging one. Here, we review the different treatments and the conditions they’re best suited for.

3. Treating Knee Pain

Once you know why your knee hurts, you have a whole world of treatment options to consider. For many, this process can be a confusing and challenging one. Here, we review the different treatments and the conditions they’re best suited for.

3.1 Early Stage Self-Care

If you only just started to notice knee pain or stiffness you may want to start with early-stage treatments. These treatments are noninvasive, inexpensive, and include interventions like pharmaceuticals, exercise, and weight loss. Before beginning any new treatment program, be sure to speak with a healthcare professional first.

3.1 Early Stage Self-Care

If you only just started to notice knee pain or stiffness you may want to start with early-stage treatments. These treatments are noninvasive, inexpensive, and include interventions like pharmaceuticals, exercise, and weight loss. Before beginning any new treatment program, be sure to speak with a healthcare professional first.

Painkillers & NSAIDs

Painkillers & NSAIDs

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and other medications can work to reduce knee pain, stiffness, and inflammation in the short-term. They are commonly used as an osteoarthritis treatment, but experts recommend using them in moderation and avoiding long-term use to avoid negative side effects.

Exercise & Weight Loss

Exercise & Weight Loss

A regular exercise routine is one of the best osteoarthritis treatments because it helps improve muscle strength. Stronger muscles are better able to support and stabilize your knee joint, which helps to relieve pain, improve mobility and function, and reduce risk of injury.
Exercise can also contribute to weight loss, another highly effective osteoarthritis treatment. Since the knee absorbs a lot of body weight during activity, maintaining a healthy weight can help minimize painful knee forces.

At-Home Physiotherapy:
Knee Boost Workout Program

At-Home Physio: Knee Boost Workout Program

If you’re looking for an exercise program to help manage your osteoarthritis, check out our Knee Boost Home Workout Program. This physiotherapist-guided program has been developed based on scientifically proven methods for safely improving strength and mobility in people with knee osteoarthritis.

Other Treatments

Other Treatments

Cold therapy is an inexpensive osteoarthritis treatment that can be used throughout the day or after exercising. Applying a cold compress or ice pack to the painful area for 20 minutes at a time acts to temporarily numb pain and reduce swelling in the knee.
Dietary supplements like glucosamine are commonly used as part of an osteoarthritis treatment plan, although research has shown mixed results. Glucosamine is produced naturally in the body to help build and repair cartilage, but production can slow with age. Taking a glucosamine supplement may help protect and strengthen cartilage to prevent further damage, reduce inflammation, and relieve symptoms.

3.2 Instant Relief With Bracing

3.2 Instant Relief With Bracing

If you’ve already tried other early-stage osteoarthritis treatments with limited success, and want to delay knee replacement surgery as long as possible, bracing may be right for you. If you live an active lifestyle, bracing can help during activities that cause pain, like long walks, gardening, or golfing.

Spring Loading: A New Osteoarthritis Solution

Spring Loading: An Effective Osteoarthritis Solution

The Spring Loaded Solution is a newer approach to OA bracing that uses spring technology to lift weight off of the knee, providing immediate pain relief across the entire joint. This makes it an effective solution regardless of which OA pattern you have. It can also complement other non-surgical treatments like exercise or injections.

In contrast, traditional OA knee braces, known as offloaders, are often unable to provide meaningful pain relief in the long term. They are designed to relieve pain in one side of the knee at a time. Most people end up with damage in multiple knee compartments or under the kneecap, in which cases offloader braces are ineffective.

How to Choose Your Knee Brace

How to Choose Your Knee Brace

There are many knee braces on the market, which can make choosing the right one a challenge. If you have a mild condition, a knee sleeve may provide enough stability and compression. For more serious conditions, a hinged knee brace may work best.

If you have osteoarthritis, knowing the severity and pattern can help you choose the right knee brace. If the disease is located in one knee compartment, a traditional offloader knee brace may work for you. If you have osteoarthritis in multiple compartments and/or under your kneecap, a spring brace is a better choice because it can relieve pain across the entire knee joint.

3.3 Knee Injections

3.3 Knee Injections

Knee injections are often used to complement other non-surgical osteoarthritis treatment options like bracing or physiotherapy. Injections deliver medication or a lubricating substance directly into the joint to help reduce pain and inflammation and allow the knee to move more freely.

Types of Knee Injections

Cortisone Injections

Types of Knee Injections

Cortisone Injections

Cortisone is a synthetic steroid designed to act like the naturally occurring steroid hormone, cortisol, which plays an important role in suppressing inflammation. Injecting cortisone into the knee can help alleviate pain caused by joint inflammation.
However, the benefits of cortisone injections may last only for several weeks or months before symptoms return. Some evidence shows that the benefits do not outweigh the potential side-effects, which can include accelerated cartilage degeneration.

Hyaluronic Acid Injections

Hyaluronic Acid Injections

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a component of synovial fluid, a gel-like substance that lubricates and cushions healthy joints, but becomes thinner in arthritic joints. HA knee injections help to restore the synovial fluid to improve lubrication of the joint, which helps reduce pain and improve range of motion. This can provide symptom relief for several months, but results vary.

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)

Platelets are a type of blood cell that play a role in tissue repair by increasing stem cell activity, blood supply, and growth of new cells. PRP knee injections are a relatively new type of treatment that delivers a concentrated dose of your body’s own platelets to the damaged knee joint to promote healing.

Downsides of Knee Injections

Downsides of Knee Injections

Knee injections only offer temporary relief from knee pain. Multiple injections are required every year to sustain any benefits, and each shot can cost hundreds of dollars. On the other hand, if used too frequently they can cause adverse side-effects. Results are not guaranteed, and some people find that knee injections do not provide any symptom relief. Overall, there is limited research to show that knee injections are effective.

3.4 Surgical Knee Replacement

3.4 Surgical Knee Replacement

Knee replacement surgery is considered a last resort for treating severe knee osteoarthritis. It’s usually recommended only if you’ve tried all other non-surgical treatments and are still struggling with severe pain that is affecting your quality of life. 

Knee Replacement: What to Expect

Knee Replacement: What to Expect

Surgical knee replacement is an invasive but effective method for relieving symptoms. The procedure involves resurfacing the damaged ends of the bones with a prosthetic knee joint made of metal or plastic.
Knee replacement will allow you to perform daily activities without pain. However, it does not fully restore knee function, so your ability to participate in physically demanding activities and sports may be affected.

Timing Knee Replacement

Timing Knee Replacement

An artificial knee joint can last 15 to 20 years with normal use. Typically, you want to avoid the need for a second knee replacement because there is a higher risk of complications. As a result, knee replacement surgery is often only recommended if you are over 65 years of age. If you’re below 65, it’s better to use non-surgical treatments to manage your pain (e.g. bracing, injections, exercise).

What’s Next?

What’s Next?

The Spring Loaded Solution

The Spring Loaded Solution

Spring loading is a new and effective method for treating bone on bone conditions. It is the first and only brace capable of reducing pressure across the entire knee joint. Its powerful spring technology results in rapid, immediate pain relief, leading many patients to return to doing the activities they love.