Is the pain in your knee from arthritis making it difficult to walk? If you've been hesitant to see a knee pain doctor because of your anxiety over having surgery, there are a number of non-invasive treatments that can be done first. Once your doctor understands what the arthritis has done to your knee and the extent of the damage, they can discuss the following options to reduce your pain. Using one or more of these non-invasive treatments may let you avoid having surgery for a few more years.
Arthritis wears down the cartilage in the knee that acts as a shock absorber each time you take a step. Eventually the cartilage becomes so thin that you have bone rubbing against bone in the knee joint. This causes pain and inflammation in your knee. Every pound of weight puts pressure on the joint. The more weight you remove from the knee, the less pressure and pain you'll experience as you walk.
The muscles surrounding your knee also take pressure off of the joint when you walk. The stronger the muscles, the more your knee is supported. Your doctor will prescribe a series of physical therapy sessions to build up your quadriceps and calf muscles. The physical therapist will start by doing passive exercises and move your knee joint through its normal range of motion for you. As the muscles limber up, you'll do more of the work yourself. Eventually, you'll have a number of exercises to do at home each week to keep the muscle tone in your knee so it will get the most support when you walk.
Arthritis also wears out the knee surfaces unequally. One side of the knee joint may be more affected than the other. Your doctor can order custom knee braces that hold your knee joint in a position so more of the pressure is applied to the "good" side of the joint. This takes the pressure away from the more damaged side of the joint, which reduces the inflammation and pain.
Anti-inflammatory medications will be used along with all of the other non-invasive treatments. These medications prevent the swelling of the tissues in the knee joint which cause your pain. You may take a combination of over-the-counter and prescription-strength medications. Your doctor will do regular tests to make sure you don't have some of the side effects of long-term drug treatment, which can include stomach irritation and kidney damage.
For severe flare-ups of arthritis pain in your knee, your doctor can inject a steroid directly into the joint. This causes an immediate reduction of the inflammation and pain to give you some relief. These injections are given infrequently, as steroids can cause more damage to the knee structures with extended use. If you need steroid injections to relieve your pain, then you're at the point where it's time to start discussing knee surgery with your doctor. By now, the other non-invasive treatments will be giving you little to no relief, and surgery will be your best option.
For more advice, contact a medical center like Pottstown Surgical Associates.Share