Knee Replacement Information : Treatment Options

What are some non-surgical treatments for knee pain?

The cause and severity of knee pain will determine how doctors treat it. Patients, caregivers and surgeons work closely to develop a treatment plan, which may include a range of non-surgical options, given alone or in combination, including:

  • Rest—reducing or avoiding activities that may irritate the knee joint allows inflammation to subside.
  • Application of ice and heat—to alternately reduce swelling, relax and loosen tissues, and stimulate blood flow to the area.
  • Stretching—stretching muscles and tendons can help relieve some symptoms of knee pain.
  • Anti-inflammatory medication—taken as prescribed, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (also called NSAIDs) can help reduce pain and swelling in the knee. The most common NSAIDs are ibuprofen and naproxen.
  • Injections—sometimes anti-inflammatory medicines called corticosteroids are injected directly into the knee joint to control pain and inflammation. A lubricating, non-steroid injection may also be given to reduce pain and irritation.
  • Supportive Aids—if walking becomes too painful, or if maintaining balance becomes difficult, doctors may recommend a cane or walker to help restore some stability and reduce the risk of falling.
  • Exercise and physical therapy—because can inactivity can actually worsen some knee conditions, therapeutic exercises such as strength, flexibility and balance training are often prescribed to improve symptoms and accelerate recovery.

What is a total knee replacement?

A total knee replacement, also called knee arthroplasty, is a procedure in which a surgeon removes damaged joint surfaces on the ends of the upper and lower leg bones (femur and tibia) and replaces them with an artificial implant or prosthesis. To provide further pain relief, the patella or knee cap may also be replaced or resurfaced at the same time. Knee replacement is today’s most common joint replacement procedure.