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Non-Surgical Treatment Options for Knee

Lifestyle Modification

There are a number of non-surgical lifestyle modifications that your physician may prescribe to control the symptoms of arthritis.

Sometimes the best way to control the symptoms of arthritis in the knee is by losing weight. Losing weight means that you will be reducing the amount of stress on your weight-bearing joints, including the knees, hips, spine and feet. It is also a good idea to avoid activities that can aggravate the knee and opt for low-impact exercise activities.

Exercise and physical therapy

To improve the strength and flexibility of the knee, exercise and physical therapy may be prescribed. The exercise program could include stretching, riding a stationary bike and light weight training. Various aquatic activities are also effective in treating arthritis since they allow mild resistance while removing the weight-bearing stresses.

Bracing can help manage arthritis

To provide external stability to the knee a brace may be useful. Whether they are made of plastic, metal, leather or foam, braces are designed to stabilize the joint, reduce pain and inflammation and strengthen the muscles. The brace also causes the joint to realign by putting pressure on the sides of the joint. This decreases the contact between the bone surfaces and increases mobility while reducing pain.

Medication for Knee Pain


Analgesics like acetaminophen may not reduce inflammation but can provide some relief from pain associated with arthritis.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Temporary pain can be alleviated by reducing the inflammation of the tissue in the knee. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be recommended to decrease the inflammation associated with arthritis. Aspirin, ibuprofen and ketoprofen are over-the-counter NSAIDs which reduce inflammation and swelling along with prescribed NSAIDs available through your physician.

Nutritional supplements

To improve the joint’s mobility and decrease knee pain from arthritis, nutritional supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin may be used. Both of these are naturally occurring substances found in cartilage. Glucosamine is thought to promote the growth of new cartilage and repair damaged cartilage while chondroitin is believed to inhibit cartilage-destroying enzymes and promote water retention, improving the elasticity of the cartilage. Talk to your physician before taking these supplements.

Other Therapies

Heat and Cold Therapy - Heat and Cold are non-drug ways that may relieve pain. A warm bath, hot packs or cold packs are simple techniques that may help with pain.

Injections - Steroid injections may provide relief from knee pain. Your doctor will advise you on the efficacy of this treatment and monitor how effective this course of treatment is for you.

Joint Fluid Therapy (hyaluronic acid) - Joint Fluid Therapy is a treatment to help treat the pain of osteoarthritis of the knee. It provides long-lasting relief from arthritis pain for many patients. Joint Fluid Therapy involves injecting a substance called hyaluronic acid into the knee. This substance is similar to the fluid that occurs naturally in the knee, synovial fluid, which helps to lubricate the knee, reducing friction and protecting from pain.


The information listed on this site is for informational and educational purposes and is not meant as medical advice. Every patient's case is unique and each patient should follow his or her doctor's specific instructions. Please discuss nutrition, medication and treatment options with your doctor to make sure you are getting the proper care for your particular situation.The information on this site does not replace your doctor's specific instructions.