Knee osteoarthritis can be managed using various treatment options depending on the severity of symptoms and the individual’s specific condition. Here are different treatment options commonly used for knee osteoarthritis:
- Weight management: Maintaining a healthy weight or losing excess weight can reduce the strain on the knee joint and slow down the progression of osteoarthritis. A reduction of 5kg from your current weight will bring noticeable improvement in pain and function of the knee joint.
- Regular exercise: Low-impact exercises, such as walking, swimming, or cycling, can help improve joint flexibility, strengthen the muscles around the knee, and reduce pain. Physical therapy programs can provide guidance on appropriate exercises.
- Using walking aids, such as canes or crutches, or wearing a knee brace or shoe inserts can help support the knee, reduce pain, and improve mobility.
- Offloader knee brace can help to unload the painful compartment of the knee.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen, can help reduce pain and inflammation.
- Topical creams or gels: Applying topical NSAIDs or capsaicin creams directly to the knee can provide localised pain relief.
- Prescription medications: Stronger pain medications or intra-articular corticosteroid injections may be prescribed by a healthcare professional for temporary relief of severe pain or inflammation.
- A physical therapist can create an individualised exercise program to improve knee strength, flexibility, and stability. They may also use techniques like manual therapy, ultrasound, or electrical stimulation to reduce pain and improve joint function.
- Hyaluronic acid injections: These injections provide lubrication and cushioning to the knee joint, potentially reducing pain and improving joint mobility.
- Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections: PRP injections involve using a concentrated solution of the patient’s own blood platelets, which may promote healing and reduce inflammation in the knee joint.
- Autologous Protein Solution (APS) injections: 54cc of blood is taken from the patient’s vein and this is centrifuged to obtain the blood products. This is centrifuged a 2nd time with beads to break the cells to obtain the protein solution. Studies showed improvements in knee pain and function up to 3 years after a single injection. The effects vary between patients due to the difference in severity of the knee osteoarthritis.
- Arthroscopy: In cases where there are loose bodies or mechanical issues within the knee joint, arthroscopic surgery may be performed to remove or repair damaged tissue.
- Osteotomy: This procedure involves realigning the bones around the knee joint to relieve pressure on the damaged area and improve joint function.
- Partial or total knee replacement: In severe cases of knee osteoarthritis, where conservative treatments have failed, the damaged joint surfaces may be replaced with artificial components. Partial knee replacement may be an option if only one part of the knee is affected.
- Robotic partial knee or total knee replacement. Robots can be used to help improve accuracy of the surgery.
- Complementary treatments like acupuncture, massage therapy, or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) may provide temporary pain relief for some individuals, although scientific evidence for their effectiveness is mixed.
It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional or orthopaedic specialist who can evaluate your specific condition and recommend the most appropriate treatment options based on your individual needs and the severity of your knee osteoarthritis. They will consider factors such as your age, overall health, and functional limitations to develop a personalised treatment plan to manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.