Non-surgical treatment for hip and knee pain
With people living longer than ever, arthritis of the hip and knee is more common. The American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons estimates there may be a need for 500,000 hip replacements and 3,000,000 knee replacements each year by the year 2030.
But joint replacement is the last option. There are treatments and surgical procedures that may relieve the problem without restoring to knee or hip replacement. In this and succeeding blogs, we’ll discuss your options as recommended by the AAHKS.
If your doctor is not recommending surgery for your hip or knee joints at this time, there are some other ways to alleviate pain and improve mobility:
There are Medications:
·Simple pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), are available without a prescription and can be effective in reducing pain.
·Non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medications include other over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil), or naproxen (Aleve) to help reduce pain and swelling in the joint.
·More potent types of pain relievers are prescription-strength, non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that can be prescribed by your doctor.
Or your doctor may recommend Injections:
·Cortisone injections can provide pain relief and reduce inflammation, but aren’t very helpful if the arthritis affects the movement of your joint. The length of time the injection works can vary, and there is a limit to how many your doctor can give you per year.
·Viscosupplementation is a treatment in which hyaluronic acid (HA) is injected into the joint. It can help joints to work properly by acting like a lubricant. Because of the anatomy around the hip joint, injections into the hip are more complicated and therefore less frequently prescribed.
Your doctor may recommend Weight Loss:
·If, like many people with osteoarthritis, you are overweight, you should know that weight loss can reduce stress on your hip or knee. The physics of the hip and knee joints tell us that you put three to five times your body weight across these joints throughout the day – especially during stair climbing and getting in and out of a chair. Every ten pounds of extra weight that you carry can result in fifty pounds of weight-bearing pressure across your hips and knees! It makes perfect sense that losing weight can result in reduced pain and increased function, particularly in walking.
I hate that word: Exercise!
·But it’s a known fact that an exercise routine can help increase your range of motion and flexibility as it strengthens the muscles in your legs. Simple exercise is often effective in reducing pain and improving function. However, in the case of advanced arthritis (bone-on-bone), exercise can sometimes increase pain in your hip and knee joints. Your physician or a physical therapist will develop an individualized exercise program that meets your needs and lifestyle.
Braces and Splints may help:
·Braces may be especially helpful in knee arthritis. If the arthritis is centered on one side or the other, a brace can assist with stability and function. Braces are not for everyone, however, and they can be difficult to fit for certain people.
There may be relief from Physical Therapy:
·Because it works to strengthen the muscles around your joint, physical therapy may help absorb some of the shock imparted to the joint. Physical therapy can help to reduce the pain, swelling, and stiffness of osteoarthritis and improve joint function. It can also make it easier for you to walk, bend, kneel, squat, and sit.
And there are alternative therapies:
·Examples of alternative therapies include the use of acupuncture and magnetic pulse therapy. Acupuncture, which uses fine needles to stimulate specific body areas to relieve pain or temporarily numb an area, is used in many parts of the world, and evidence suggests that it can help ease the pain of arthritis. Magnetic pulse therapy is painless; it works by applying a pulsed signal to the knee, which is placed in an electromagnetic field.
Next: Learn about surgical options.
Blue Sky Therapy has a continued commitment to patient-driven quality, excellence, integrity and innovation in everything that we do. That’s why we are scrupulous about planning the treatment of each and every client, and carefully documenting the outcome!
American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons. Developed by the AAHKS Patient Education Committee. Authors: Craig J. Della Valle, MD, Frank R. DiMaio, MD, Marc W. Hungerford, MD.