Knee Arthritis: Managing Pain and Inflammation

If you have knee arthritis, you know that arthritic symptoms can wax and wane. You may have days where your knee feels fairly normal. You may also experience times when symptoms start for no reason at all. Your arthritic knee can enter a flared up phase from changes in the weather. Trauma and increased activity may cause knee arthritis symptoms to worsen too. Some common symptoms of knee arthritis include stiffness, swelling, loss of range of motion, deformity, and pain. You may have one or all of these symptoms if you have knee arthritis.

There are several treatment options for knee arthritis. Read along for an overview of some options you have to manage pain and inflammation.

Hot, not Cold

In general, heat is better than ice to treat a flare of arthritis. Ice can actually irritate an arthritic joint, so moist heat tends to be the best approach. You can add water to a heating pad and place the pad on your knee for some relief. You can even microwave a wet towel and then apply it to the painful joint. There is no time limit on how long the moist heat can be applied, so you can apply as needed for pain.


An oral NSAID can also help reduce a symptomatic arthritic joint. You should only take NSAIDs if you are not on blood thinners and do not have a history of kidney disease or stomach ulcers. Before taking any medication, you should always check with your healthcare provider first. Their expertise can help guide you safely- any medication, even over the counter medicines, can negatively interact with other medication that you are taking.

Topical Medications for Knee Arthritis

Topical medications can also help calm down an arthritic joint. For instance, Voltaren gel is an over the counter topical medication you can use for pain. You can apply the gel directly to the skin overlying your painful joint. Another topical option you can consider is capsaicin cream. This is a naturally-occurring compound found in red peppers that can be applied in a cream topically.


There are natural ways to treat an arthritic flare up too. PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) is one such option. Platelet rich plasma works  to reduce the pain, swelling and discomfort caused by arthritis. It is 100 percent natural, so there is no negative side effects. PRP is made by drawing your blood and separating out the plasma and platelets through an on-site centrifuge. The concentrated PRP is then injected into the painful area, where it helps facilitate faster, long-lasting relief.

Knee Arthritis Injections

A cortisone injection can also quickly reduce the pain from an arthritic flare-up. Your symptoms are significantly reduced in 2-4 days after a cortisone injection.

If you are struggling with knee arthritis, Orthopaedic Specialists can help! We offer various treatment options to help you manage your arthritis. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Grossfeld and the other experts at Orthopaedic Specialists, call 502-212-2663 today.