Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Osteoarthritis Health Center

Select An Article

Your Osteoarthritis Treatment Options

Font Size

Medications continued...

Hyaluronic Acid

Your joints contain a natural lubricant and shock absorber called hyaluronic acid, but people with osteoarthritis have less of this substance than normal. Hyaluronic acid is injected in the knee joint using products which may ease osteoarthritis pain in the knees, shoulders, and hips. This treatment may also help your joints move more smoothly. Side effects are usually mild and may include pain or swelling at the injection site.


Your doctor may recommend the use of antidepressants to help treat chronic pain whether you have depression or not. The antidepressant duloxetine (Cymbalta) is approved for chronic musculoskeletal pain, including the pain of osteoarthritis.

Another class of antidepressants called tricyclics may also help manage chronic pain. These include, desipramine, imipramine  and nortriptyline. It is not exactly clear how antidepressants help curb pain, but antidepressant effects on brain chemicals is believed to play a role.

Side effects can range from drowsiness to dry mouth and blurred vision. Rarely, these drugs can lead to mood changes or suicidal thoughts.


Most people with osteoarthritis don't need surgery. But if your pain and stiffness are so severe that you can’t get around, your doctor might suggest it as a last resort.

Surgery can improve your joint alignment, help your joints move more smoothly, and relieve your pain. Techniques used for osteoarthritis include:


During this procedure, the surgeon makes a very small cut in the affected joint and inserts a thin, lighted tube and small surgical instruments. Through this small cut, the doctor can view joint damage and remove loose pieces of cartilage, smooth out rough surfaces, or remove damaged tissues. It may temporarily ease arthritis pain, but there is debate about whether it works better than medication or physical therapy.


If you're still young and active and have knee or hip osteoarthritis, you may be able to have an osteotomy, or joint-preserving surgery. By cutting and removing a section of the bone, this procedure improves joint alignment and stability so you can delay having joint replacement surgery.

Joint fusion

Next Article:

Today on WebMD

elderly hands
Even with arthritis pain.
woman exercising
Here are 7 easy tips.
acupuncture needles in woman's back
How it helps arthritis, migraines, and dental pain.
chronic pain
Get personalized tips to reduce discomfort.
Keep Joints Healthy
Chronic Pain Healthcheck
close up of man with gut
man knee support
woman with cold compress
Man doing tai chi
hand gripping green rubber ball
person walking with assistance