How To Treat Arthritis In The Knees
This article was medically reviewed by Troy A. Miles, MD. Dr. Miles is an Orthopedic Surgeon specializing in Adult Joint Reconstruction in California. He received his MD from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 2010, followed by a residency at the Oregon Health & Science University and fellowship at the University of California, Davis. He is a Diplomat of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and is a member of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, American Orthopaedic Association, American Association of Orthopaedic Surgery, and the North Pacific Orthopaedic Society.There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 63,035 times.
Research suggests that treatment may slow down arthritis and relieve your symptoms, though theres no cure for it.XTrustworthy SourceNational Health Service Public healthcare system of the UKGo to source Arthritis occurs when your joint becomes inflamed, causing pain, stiffness, and swelling. Osteoarthritis happens when the cartilage in your joint wears away, while rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition where your body attacks your joints. Experts say arthritis in the knee is very common because its a weight-bearing joint, but you can get arthritis in any joint.XResearch source Although arthritis may interfere with your life, you may be able to manage your condition.
Can Knee Pain Come Back After Treatment
Frequently, knee pain will occur for a short period of time and then resolve. Sometimes it can return a few weeks or months later. For chronic knee pain, it is important to get it evaluated to avoid further damage to cartilage, bones, or ligaments. Prognosis depends on the underlying causes of the pain.
With modern surgical techniques, it’s possible to relieve many of the knee pain syndromes and return to an active lifestyle.
Looking For The Best Treatment For Knee Arthritis Pain Heres What An Orthopedic Surgeon Wants You To Know
Knee pain from arthritis is so common now it can almost seem inevitable. There are many reasons for that — but at some point, youre past preventing the damage. The question becomes: what are my options for treating knee pain caused by arthritis?
The changes I recommend early-stage sufferers can help mitigate pain in advanced cases too. Exercise and an alkaline diet can lower inflammation as well as conventional medication often even better!
But if you have moderate to severe knee arthritis, or have had arthritis for an extended time, relieving pain and restoring mobility takes extra effort. As arthritis in the knee progresses, cartilage and menisci that usually provide padding to the knee joint begin to soften, thin and eventually disappear, leaving bone exposed to bone. This destructive spiral limits function — and increases pain.
At this point, your only options are knee replacement or injections for the pain. Since knee replacement doesnt last forever, and comes with a risk of complications, your doctor will often recommend an injection for the pain.
Now youre faced with another set of choices. Options for injections include cortisone, hyaluronic acid or platelet-rich plasma . Its important to understand what to expect from each type of injection including the treatments ability to address the underlying problem.
Cortisone for arthritic knee pain magic that doesnt last
Hyaluronic acid a lubricating molecule for longer lasting relief
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How Knee Pain Can Affect You
Knee pain is more common as you get older, due to years of wear and tear, if you are overweight , or if you play sports. Because your knees are vital to movement, knee pain can stop you from playing sports and make it difficult to carry out simple activities, such as walking and climbing stairs.
*Knee : Images, Function, Ligaments, Muscles. 2016. Knee : Images, Function, Ligaments, Muscles. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/knee-pain/picture-of-the-knee. . ** GSK Global Pain Index Research 2014 full report p. 47
Take Pain Relief Medications To Ease Joint Pain
Sometimes, osteoarthritis symptoms may include severe pain. In these moments, medications are your best bet for reducing symptoms quickly.
That way, you can get back to your rehabilitation program and continue your recovery.
Now, your doctor will probably recommend traditional medications, like over-the-counter NSAIDs. These are very effective at reducing pain and swelling from osteoarthritis.
But, if you have a previous health condition or are on prescription medications, your doctor may prescribe acetaminophen instead of NSAIDs.
Pro tip: If you have a pain flare-up, try to identify what caused it. Too much movement? Too little? Stress? Bad sleep? This is a learning opportunity you can use to prevent it from happening again.
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Make Sure Your Doctor Knows About All Medications Vitamins And Supplements
Talk to your doctor about which pain medications are best for you. Be sure to let your doctor know what other medications you are taking, even for other health problems. Besides other drugs you take, tell your doctor about any vitamins, supplements or herbal products you use. This can help you to avoid drug interactions. Here are other .
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Facts You Should Know About Knee Pain
- Knee pain is a common problem with many causes, from acute injuries to complications of medical conditions.
- Knee pain can be localized to a specific area of the knee or be diffuse throughout the knee.
- Knee pain is often accompanied by physical restriction.
- A thorough physical examination will usually establish the diagnosis of knee pain.
- The treatment of knee pain depends on the underlying cause.
- The prognosis of knee pain, even severe knee pain, is usually good although it might require surgery or other interventions.
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Where Can Arthritis Occur In The Knee
Cartilage loss can occur between the thighbone and the shinbone in the medial portion , lateral portion and under the kneecap.
- Thinning of the cartilage under the kneecap is called patellofemoral arthritis .
- Some patients have cartilage loss in one, two or all of these areas. When all three areas are affected, this is called tricompartmental arthritis.
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How Can I Relieve My Pain
When knee pain emerges, how can you ease the ache? Try these at-home measures:
- Switch up your routine: Stop doing the activity that brought on your knee pain, if possible. If youve been jogging, for example, try biking or swimming instead, which are easier on knee joints.
- Rest: Avoid putting weight on the affected knee.
- Apply ice or heat: Cold packs several times a day for 20 minutes at a time can reduce inflammation. Applying heat may increase blood flow to the area and feel soothing, Dr. Kissin says.
- Compress: Wrap the painful knee snugly but lightly in an elastic bandage or thin knee sleeve.
- Elevate: When possible, rest with your affected knee higher than your heart.
- Medicate: Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen can reduce pain and swelling.
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How To Get Moving Every Day
In addition to physical therapy, its critical to incorporate regular exercise into your daily routine.
Joints are built to move, says Dr. Day. The evidence shows that people who are least active have more arthritis pain than people who do some form of exercise. Choose lower-impact activities, such as bicycling, swimming or exercising in a pool.
When Knee Pain Is Chronic
If your knee pain continues for three months or longer, stick with an exercise program apply ice or heat as needed use NSAIDs judiciously continue to lose weight, if needed and consider the following:
Walking aids. Using a cane or walker as needed can reduce the load on the affected knee, easing discomfort. A study published in 2012 in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases found that people with knee OA who used a cane daily for two months had less pain and better function.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy. Some evidence finds that CBT, a short-term therapy that can provide strategies for coping with pain, may help reduce discomfort and help you function better. A study published in 2015 in Arthritis & Rheumatology reported that people with knee OA plus insomnia who received CBT not only slept better but also reported less pain.
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In The Kitchen With Arthritis: Foods To Avoid
The goal of an anti-inflammatory diet for arthritis is to reduce inflammation and the joint degeneration and pain it causes.What Are Anti-Inflammatory Foods?
You can influence inflammation by eating anti-inflammatory foods, such as leafy greens and colorful vegetables, and avoiding these 7 inflammatory foods:
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Best Knee Pain Relief Products: Natural Remedies That Work
Heres another article for my knee pain relief series, this time looking at the best knee pain relief products. While doing my research I found some knee braces and compression sleeves for support which Ill cover below but mainly Id like to look at how natural products can help.
The series cover the formula for my own cream for knee pain, which I made with some of the herbs mentioned below . Weve been using the cream for around a month now, as well as a tincture made with Rosemary amongst other herbs . Weve gone from walking like badly oiled tin robots to virtually stiffness-free, knee-pain free women.
This is a total success. Before our natural treatment, every time we sat down for a few minutes we would suffer from terrible stiffness around the knee/joint and uncomfortable pain which really slowed us down when walk for the first 2 minutes or so. We feel weve gone almost back to normal now! Theres still a little of an uncomfortable feeling around the knees a few seconds after standing up but well just continue using the cream and exercising as and when.
Ive also written an article on herbs for joint pain which include a few home remedies and an essential oils for knee pain article.
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Will I Need Surgery For Arthritis
Healthcare providers usually only recommend surgery for certain severe cases of arthritis. These are cases that havent improved with conservative treatments. Surgical options include:
- Fusion: Two or more bones are permanently fused together. Fusion immobilizes a joint and reduces pain caused by movement.
- Joint replacement: A damaged, arthritic joint gets replaced with an artificial joint. Joint replacement preserves joint function and movement. Examples include ankle replacement, hip replacement, knee replacement and shoulder replacement.
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Treatment For Knee Problems
If initial treatment methods do not provide relief, and X-rays show destruction of the joint, the orthopaedist may recommend total joint replacement for the knee, also referred to as knee replacement.
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What Procedures And Tests Diagnose Knee Pain
A health care professional will begin by asking questions related to the person’s general health and then specifically to the nature of the knee pain .
Next, an examination of the knee will be performed. This will include bending the knee through the full range of motion, checking for stability of the ligaments, and evaluating for any tenderness and swelling. It is often helpful to compare the results of the examination of the painful knee with the other knee. Frequently, this is all that is required to make a diagnosis and start treatment. In several research studies, it has been found that an experienced examiner is as reliable as X-ray examination.
Sometimes the doctor might want to do further studies such as the following tests.
Plain X-ray can establish fractures and degenerative changes of the knee.
MRI is used to evaluate the soft tissues of the knee for ligament tears or cartilage and muscle injuries.
If gout, arthritis, or other medical conditions are suspected, a health care professional might order blood tests.
Removal of joint fluid
Can You Prevent Knee Pain
There can be many reasons for knee pain. Therefore, there are different strategies to prevent the pain depending on the underlying cause. Running on soft surfaces or decreasing the amount of running can help if the pain is due to overuse. Avoiding any direct injuries to the knee including wearing a seatbelt can prevent traumatic injuries. Weight loss can be helpful for many different forms of knee pain.
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Have A Bedtime Routine
This is incredibly important for treating knee osteoarthritis.
See, 50-80% of people with knee OA have sleep problems. This is a huge problem because good sleep has been shown to ease pain. It can even have protective effects on the knee cartilage.
On the other hand, a bad nights sleep can make you more sensitive to pain. Studies show that this can happen with as little as a 4-hour sleep restriction for 2 consecutive nights.
What does a bedtime routine have to do with this?
A bedtime routine can promote quality sleep. Over time, this sets up a rhythm that prepares your brain for rest, making it easier for you to fall asleep.
Now, the activities will vary. According to the Sleep Foundation, a good bedtime routine should be relaxing and start at the same time every day. Avoid using electronic devices.
A good example of a bedtime routine for knee osteoarthritis can look like this:
- Taking a warm bath
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Benefits Of Joint Pain Supplements
Heres how you can benefit from the joint pain supplements.
There are some supplements that will reduce pain directly once taken. They wont have any effects on inflammation, unlike other supplements.
The reason why we suffer from knee pain is because we can feel the pain from our knees. By reducing this feeling of pain, well be able to go back to doing our normal activities.
These supplements are beneficial to athletes who dont want to take anti-inflammatory medications that could interfere with inflammation. Its because inflammation plays an important role in muscle repair.
First, the supplements help lower the inflammation in your knee. In case you didnt know, the reason why you suffer from pain in your knee is due to an abnormally high level of inflammation.
Increases Blood Flow
When it comes to joint problems, improving blood flow is one way to address the pain. There are instances when you sit in one position for a long time, youll feel pain in your knee when you attempt to stand.
When you start walking, youll relieve pain because this allows your blood to flow freely. This is why some supplements work by targeting blood flow. Instead of reducing inflammation or pain, theyll improve the flow of blood in order to address joint pain.
Repairs Tissue Damage
Supplements that are capable of repairing tissue damage are the best solution to arthritis, both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis.
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Spinal Cord Stimulation: An Alternative Or Adjunct To Medication For Spinal Osteoarthritis
If youve taken several medications for your spinal osteoarthritis with little relief, your doctor may recommend , also known as neuromodulation to help relieve your chronic back or neck pain.
Spinal cord stimulation generates mild electrical impulses that block pain signals from reaching your brain. Pain is perceived in the brain. Neuromodulation involves implanting a small generator either in your abdominal or buttock area and thin wires called leads into the spinal canal. Some patients are not candidates for SCS, such as people who are pregnant, have a heart condition, epilepsy or have an existing implanted device such as a pacemaker. If your doctor recommends SCS, the first step is a trial period where the system is temporarily worn outside your body. If your pain improves using the stimulator, the device may be implanted surgically.
For some patients, spinal cord stimulation also helps them reduce their dependence on opioids or other pain medications. If youre concerned about tapering or weaning off your pain medication, talk to your doctor about strategies that may ease this process.
Use A Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation Device
A TENS unit is a small, portable device that sends a low-voltage electric current. This current can inhibit some pain signals, which can provide short-term relief.
It has adhesive patches electrodes that are placed around the painful area. You can regulate the level of intensity of the current and customize it to your liking.
This makes for a great device to self-manage knee pain at home. But, make sure to talk to your doctor/physiotherapist before using it so they can teach you how to use it properly.
People with pacemakers shouldnt use TENS, though. It can interfere with the electrical function of the heart.
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Knee Pain Relief Natural Products
Lets have a look at knee pain relief natural products. Ive looked at different types of of knee pain you might be suffering from: strains, fracture related, arthritis & inflammation and stiff & aching joints. Each has a different herb that can help and so I looked for products related to that particular herb.
Lets get started!
Simple Home Exercises And Stretches Can Help Ease Some Common Types Of Knee Pain
If youve got sore knees, exercise might seem like the hardest thing you can do but its also one of the best.
“Exercise is one of the most important things you can do for knee pain,” says Dr. Lauren Elson, an instructor in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School.
The right combination of strengthening and stretching exercises can relieve pain by helping to improve the way the joint moves and functions.
“The knee is often an innocent bystander between the hip and the foot. Knee pain is often caused by problems occurring above or below,” says Dr. Elson.
For example, weak hip muscles may cause more strain on the knee, intensifying your pain. Strengthening the muscles around the hip joint can help relieve it, says Dr. Elson.
In addition, knee pain is sometimes caused or aggravated by tight muscles around the knee, a problem that is often successfully addressed by stretching. If the muscles arent flexible, the knee joint sometimes wont move properly, says Dr. Elson.
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