When it comes to relieving knee pain, there are many different treatment options. For some people, early intervention treatments like the ones below may help restore knee function.
Both prescription and over-the-counter medications can be used to treat the symptoms of osteoarthritis and control pain. Commonly used medications include but are not limited to aspirin-free pain relievers, anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, and sleep medications when pain prevents or interferes with sleep.
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Regular low-impact exercise, including joint and muscle exercises, can improve strength and flexibility. A common myth is that exercise will “wear out” joints, however, when done properly, low-impact exercise, such as walking or jogging, may actually reduce pain and fatigue and increase movement.
The use of heat or cold over joints may provide short-term relief from pain and stiffness. Cold packs can help reduce inflammation and swelling, and may be useful for flare-ups. Heat can aid in relaxing muscles and increasing circulation.
Weight loss helps to ease pain by reducing the amount of stress on your joints. After all, your knees bear the full load of your weight plus everything you carry. According to the Arthritis Foundation, every pound of excess weight applies about four pounds of extra pressure to your knees.2
Physical and occupational therapy
Physical therapists can work with you to create a personalized exercise program and show you how to use therapeutic heat and massages to potentially reduce pain. In addition, occupational therapists can introduce you to beneficial devices, such as those used to elevate chair or toilet-seat height.
You can protect your knees by using a cane or other walking aid to keep from putting excess stress on them. Shoe inserts called orthotics are designed to support, align, and improve the function of your foot. In turn, they may lessen the pressure on your knees.
Different types of braces may help reduce knee pain and improve function and mobility. A "support" brace supports the entire load on your knee, and an "unloader" supports the weight on only one side of the knee, when only one side of the knee is damaged.