If you have significant knee arthritis, you may be considering a knee replacement. Knee arthritis causes inflammation and pain in the knee that can become debilitating. Essentially, osteoarthritis is the break down of the cartilage in the knee joint. The knee normally has a smooth surface, but with arthritis the surface becomes jagged and rough. You can even feel and hear the rough surface with motion sometimes.
While it can be the right option in some cases, knee replacement surgery can also be avoided or delayed with several treatment options. Read along for an overview of some treatment options for knee arthritis.
NSAIDS and Supplements to Avoid a Knee Replacement
There are many options for controlling inflammation in your knee. Before you start any regimen, though, your first step should be to get an X-ray to determine the degree of the arthritis. The next step is then to initiate treatment. At Orthopaedic Specialists, we typically start patients with oral medication and supplements. Anti-inflammatory NSAID medications such as Advil, Motrin, ibuprofen or Eleve can help to reduce inflammation by traveling through the blood stream and reducing the body’s inflammatory response. We may also recommend a prescription medication in some cases. Crucially, we do not recommend anti-inflammatory medications if you have a history of stomach ulcers or kidney disease. We also do not recommend these medications for people on blood thinners.
Fortunately, there are other supplements you can use instead of and/or in addition to NSAIDS. We recommend turmeric, fish oil and glucosamine with chondroitin.
We also recommend you pursue physical therapy for osteoarthritis. Physical therapy can help strengthen the muscles around the knee. In turn, this reduces the force on the joint when you move. Physical therapy can also improve range of motion of the arthritic knee. We typically recommend 2-8 visits with a physical therapist. After any formal sessions are concluded, you should also follow a home exercise program three to four times a week depending on your therapist’s recommendation.
Another potential treatment option is injection therapy. One such injection is cortisone, an anti-inflammatory medication that we can inject into the knee joint. It typically gives three months of pain relief.
Platelet Rich Plasma
Platelet Rich Plasma, or PRP, is a natural treatment option to reduce inflammation. This treatment is prepared by drawing blood from your arm. We then spin the blood in a small in-office centrifuge. The platelets and plasma separate from the rest of the blood. Then, we inject the resulting enriched plasma (the PRP) into the arthritic joint. PRP injections can give up to a years worth of pain relief. It offers a 100 percent natural way to treat the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis.
Hyaluronic Acid Injections
Another injection option to reduce symptoms temporarily is hyaluronic acid injections. These injections can reduce the symptoms of knee arthritis for up to six months or longer. Depending on the brand of the injection, you may need one shot (like with the brand Gel-One) or five shots (once per week for five weeks). We prefer the one shot injection because every time we inject a knee, there is a small risk of introducing an infection. As such, the one shot treatment is less risky for you and only requires one appointment instead of five.
One important note: knee injections do not actually need to be done with the use of ultrasound guidance. Many providers advertise that they use ultrasound to help guide them to inject the knee properly. Skilled doctors like orthopaedic surgeons do not need an ultrasound to help with injections- you won’t need that additional step here at Orthopaedic Specialists!
If you have experienced any knee injuries, you can trust the professionals at Orthopaedic Specialists to help you recover. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Grossfeld and the experts at Orthopaedic Specialists, call 502-212-2663 today!