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While knee replacement can be a very effective treatment for debilitating knee arthritis, it is not necessarily the starting point.
At UM Orthopaedics, our knee physicians will thoroughly assess your knee arthritis and create a treatment plan based on your needs, condition and overall health.
In the end, it may be time to consider knee replacement, but we will explore with you non-operative treatments first.
Non-Operative Knee Arthritis Treatment
One of the most effective treatments for knee arthritis is physical therapy, specifically closed-chain quadriceps strengthening. With this therapy, the foot is planted on the floor to strengthen the large thigh muscles. This often improves the way the kneecap moves through the knee joint, decreasing pain and increasing ability to function.
At UM Orthopaedics our physicians work closely with our physical therapists to tailor therapy to your needs.
Weight loss can be another a very effective means of dealing with knee arthritis. Body mass index (BMI) is a ratio of weight to height that can be calculated using online calculator. People with a body mass index above 30 should consider weight loss to see whether that improves symptoms before embarking on joint replacement.
Based on the way body mechanics work, if you lose one pound of overall body weight, it takes three pounds of stress off your knee.
Patients with a BMI of 35 or higher may want to consider UMMC's bariatric surgery program.
Steroid injections into the knee are commonly used for knee arthritis treatment. Unlike steroid pills, they rarely have any major effects on the whole body other than a temporary rise in blood sugar in diabetic patients.
Steroid injections can be administered into the knee every three months.
After assessing your knee arthritis, your UM Orthopaedic specialist may refer you to UM Pain Management for steroid injections.
Anti-inflammatory medications, such as acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol), ibuprofen (e.g., Advil) and naproxen (e.g. Aleve), are also very effective at relieving knee arthritis pain. Patients who do not experience stomach problems, such as ulcers or bleeding, can use them for pain relief as long as needed. Excessive use of ibuprofen or naproxen can cause kidney damage, so it is important to follow the instructions on the bottle.