Orthopedic Associates' Blog


Orthopedic Associates' Blog

Non-Surgical Treatment Options to Treat Knee Osteoarthritis Before Considering Total Knee Replacement
Non-Surgical Treatment Options to Treat Knee Osteoarthritis Before Considering Total Knee Replacement

By: Dr. Kramer

Is knee replacement surgery the only option for alleviating arthritis pain in your knee? Thankfully, the answer is no. There are a variety of non-surgical treatment options to treat knee osteoarthritis before choosing total knee replacement. The key is understanding the nature and extent of your discomfort and pain, namely what is the primary contributor to your potential need for knee replacement.

Possible Causes that Lead to Total Knee Replacement

Knee osteoarthritis, or simply arthritis as it’s often referred to, is one of the leading causes of knee replacement. The cartilage lining between the bones is thinner than what’s recommended or missing entirely in certain cases. This causes additional pressure or friction on the leg bones. X-rays are often taken to confirm if the joint space is narrowed or irregular in shape.

Total knee replacement may also be considered due to trauma to the knee region or increased stress, such as overuse. Inactive lifestyles can lead to obesity, which places unnecessary strain on the knee joint. This can cause significant pain over time. If the excess weight is not properly managed, it can contribute to needing total knee replacement in the future.

Non-Surgical Treatment Options for Treating Knee Osteoarthritis

Changes in lifestyle are often beneficial for alleviating knee osteoarthritis instead of undergoing knee replacement surgery. With the continued rise in obesity among U.S. adults, many patients often see a decrease in pain after losing 20 lb. or more of excess body weight. As with all lifestyle changes, we recommend consulting with your doctor before beginning any significant lifestyle changes, including losing weight or changing your diet.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen, are known to alleviate much of the pain and discomfort associated with knee osteoarthritis. However, there are several well-known side effects of NSAIDs to consider before taking them to relieve your knee pain. Always consult with your doctor before beginning any pain management regimen through prescription medication. The good news is the right type of NSAIDs can help you enjoy the life you want as part of a safe and proven treatment plan.

When Should You Replace Your Knee?

There are many factors to consider when it comes to replacing your knee. Knee replacement patients typically experience at least six weeks of ‘down time’ that requires little physical exertion. This means you may be more immobile than you may like. Many patients elect to have knee replacement surgery between Christmas and New Year’s since the weather tends to be colder and the schedule is often less hectic.

Your current health condition is another factor to consider. If you have any potential health complications, you will want to discuss all possible scenarios with your doctor before scheduling surgery. Your home living arrangements, work responsibilities, and other lifestyle commitments can also influence when you choose to undergo knee replacement surgery.

Our Orthopedic Associates team developed a free resource to help you understand what to expect following knee replacement surgery. Get your free copy of “The Step-by-Step Guide to Recovering from Knee Replacement Surgery and What to Expect Following Surgery”.

If you’re considering knee replacement surgery, you deserve to understand all your options. We recommend consulting with a knee specialist at Orthopedic Associates. Schedule your next appointment here.

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