Is Knee Replacement Surgery The Only Option?
Knee replacement surgery is not usually the first option for treating knee pain. Various alternative treatments may help bring relief. If you’re experiencing knee pain, ask your doctor about less invasive ways to address it. Here are some suggestions.
Weight loss and exercise
Maintaining Proper Weight. Additional body weight leads to excess stress on joints and can cause cartilage to break down more quickly. Therefore, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a healthy weight can help patients avoid surgery. Encouraging patiets to lose just 5 percent of their body weight can relieve excess joint pressure. While losing weight won’t replace cartilage; it will help them to reduce the stress on their joints.
Exercise Regularly. Remind patients that limiting physical activity can make joint damage worse. Inactivity leads to cartilage loss between bones and can lead to bone-on-bone contact, which is extremely painful. Exercise helps to stimulate the release of synovial fluid, and provides the cartilage with nutrients to lubricate and loosen the joint. Suggesting aerobic exercises and low-impact activities such as the elliptical, recumbent bike, walking and swimming at least 3 times week will help patients achieve optimal joint health.
Experts strongly encourage people who are overweight or with obesity to lose weight and exercise. Together, these measures can help slow joint damage and reduce pain.
Research shows that every extra 10 pounds increase the chance of developing knee osteoarthritis by 36 percent. At the same time, losing 10 pounds may mean you have 4 times less force pressing on your knees.
Suitable activities include:
- strengthening exercises
- neuromuscular training
- water exercise
Experts note that exercising with a group or a physical therapist may be more effective than exercising alone. They also recommend choosing an activity that you enjoy and can afford.
A physical therapist can work out a plan to reduce pain and strengthen the key muscles that affect your knees. They can also work with you to make sure you’re doing the exercises correctly. They may apply ice and heat to reduce pain and inflammation.
A surgeon may suggest arthroscopic surgery to remove bone fragments, pieces of torn meniscus, or damaged cartilage, as well as repair ligaments. An arthroscope is a type of camera. It allows a surgeon to view the inside of your joint through a small incision. After making two to four incisions, the surgeon uses the arthroscope to operate on the inside of your knee. This technique is less invasive than traditional surgery. Most people can go home on the same day. Recovery, too, is likely to be quicker. However, it may not help in all types of knee arthritis.
People with a knee deformity or damage to only one side of their knee may benefit from an osteotomy. This procedure shifts the weight-bearing load away from the damaged area of the knee. However, knee osteotomy is not suitable for everyone. It is usually used for younger people with limited knee damage.
In prolotherapy, a healthcare professional injects an irritant solution into the ligament or tendon to increase blood flow and supply of nutrients. This treatment aims to stimulate the healing process by irritating the tissue. A dextrose solution, which is a sugar mixture, is usually used. In a recent study, people with knee osteoarthritis received five injections 4 weeks apart. They reported their pain levels had improved 26 weeks after the first injection. After a year, they still felt the improvement. Researchers say this procedure is likely safe and appears to help relieve pain, but they are still calling for more research.
Knee injections of hyaluronic acid are thought to lubricate the knee joint. This may help improve shock absorption, reduce pain, and improve knee mobility.
Over-the-counter (OTC) medication may help manage knee pain.
- over-the-counter pain relief drugs, such as acetaminophen
- topical and oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs)
- topical creams that contain capsaicin
This experimental treatment uses bone marrow stem cells from the hip to help regenerate cartilage tissue in the knee. Studies have shown that stem cell therapy can help reduce knee pain and improve function, but it does not appear to result in cartilage regrowth. Stem cell treatment for joint injuries is not yet part of medical practice. Experts do not currently recommend stem cell injections for osteoarthritis (OA), as there is no standardized treatment method yet.
Another option is to have a steroid injection into the affected area. This can reduce the pain and inflammation in your knee. The pain usually reduces within a few days, and relief lasts several weeks. The guidelines published in 2019 support their use.
Devices that may help include:
- a walking cane, which can help with balance
- a knee brace, to support the knee joint
Kineseo tape is a form of support dressing that encourages the body to heal naturally by increasing blood flow around a muscle. It also supports the joint while allowing it to move freely. It can relieve pain and may help prevent OA from developing or getting worse.
Weigh your options
Before opting for knee replacement surgery, it’s important to consider all your options. Contact Total Orthocare on 9591618833/ 9663727367 for more information.