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What are treatment options for knee osteoarthritis?

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These include:

  • Medications you take by mouth. Over-the-counter options include acetaminophen (Tylenol) as well as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve). NSAIDs fight inflammation. Stronger NSAIDs are available by prescription.
  • Creams or ointments you rub onto the skin. Different forms are sold over the counter. You can get stronger versions with a prescription.
  • Medications injected into the joint. Corticosteroid injections, also called cortisone shots, fight inflammation and can offer fast pain relief that may last up to several months. Injections of hyaluronic acid boost the natural joint fluid that keeps knees moving smoothly. They may take up to a couple of months to have their full effect but can last up to six months or more.
  • Exercise and physical therapy. Exercise strengthens the muscles that support your knee. Physical therapy also helps. A physical therapist can design the program for you and see if you need supportive braces, splints, or canes.
  • Weight loss. Every pound you gain puts an extra 3 pounds of pressure on your knees. If you eventually need knee replacement surgery, your chances of success are much greater if you first lose extra weight.
  • Nutritional supplements. Some people take glucosamine and chondroitin for knee osteoarthritis. Studies on how well they work have had mixed results. Another supplement, called SAMe, has been shown to work as well as nonprescription pain relievers and may have fewer side effects. It takes longer to work, though. Before you start taking any supplements, even if they're natural, tell your doctor so he can check for any side effects.

SOURCES:

American Academy of Family Physicians: "Dietary Supplements for Osteoarthritis."

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: "Arthroscopy."

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: “Total Knee Replacement.”

American College of Rheumatology: “Recommendations for the Medical Management of Osteoarthritis of the Hip and Knee.”

Arthritis Foundation: Osteoarthritis Treatment: “What medications are used to treat osteoarthritis?”

Arthritis Foundation: “51 Ways to Be Good to Your Joints.”

Arthritis Foundation: “Good News for Knees.”

FamilyDoctor.org: “Osteoarthritis of the Knee.”

Reviewed by David Zelman on December 13, 2018

SOURCES:

American Academy of Family Physicians: "Dietary Supplements for Osteoarthritis."

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: "Arthroscopy."

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: “Total Knee Replacement.”

American College of Rheumatology: “Recommendations for the Medical Management of Osteoarthritis of the Hip and Knee.”

Arthritis Foundation: Osteoarthritis Treatment: “What medications are used to treat osteoarthritis?”

Arthritis Foundation: “51 Ways to Be Good to Your Joints.”

Arthritis Foundation: “Good News for Knees.”

FamilyDoctor.org: “Osteoarthritis of the Knee.”

Reviewed by David Zelman on December 13, 2018

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How is arthroscopic surgery done to treat knee osteoarthritis?

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