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Osteoarthritis Treatment Options

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Surgery continued...

Arthroscopy

Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that may temporarily relieve arthritis pain, although whether it works better than medication or physical therapy is questionable. During this procedure, the surgeon makes a very small incision 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.

Osteotomy

If you're still young and active and you've got 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

In this technique, the surgeon removes the joint completely from the ends of the two bones that connect it. The bones are then held together with screws, pins, or plates until they heal. Over time, the bones should fuse into one piece, but they will no longer be flexible.

Joint Replacement (Arthroplasty)

Osteoarthritis can take its toll on your joints, and over time you may have no choice but to replace a worn out hip or knee joint with a man-made plastic or metal version. If osteoarthritis is only in one part of the knee joint, you can have a partial knee or hip replacement -- a less invasive procedure that will still help improve function.

Alternative Remedies for Osteoarthritis

A few complementary and alternative treatments have been studied for osteoarthritis relief, but before you try any of these therapies, talk to your doctor and make sure it won't have side effects or interact with other treatments you're using.

Acupuncture is a popular arthritis treatment, and some evidence of benefit has been suggestive but not conclusive in some patients.

The dietary supplements glucosamine and chondroitin, used either individually or together, have also been touted for osteoarthritis relief.  While some studies have found that glucosamine and chondroitin may reduce pain and stiffness, other research hasn't been as supportive. Evidence of benefit is strongest for people with mild OA.

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