Osteoarthritis Knee Treatment - Best Ways to Treat Osteoarthritis

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Medically Reviewed by Dr. Aman Priya Khanna
Written by Rajath R Prabhu, last updated on 13 June 2024| min read
Osteoarthritis Knee Treatment - Best Ways to Treat Osteoarthritis

Quick Summary

  • Osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee occurs as a result of the breaking down of the cartilage present between the knees.
  • Pain, swelling, knee stiffness (especially in the morning), creaking sound while moving the knees, warm feeling within the joints, and reduced knee motility are some symptoms of knee osteoarthritis.
  • This blog compiles the best treatment for osteoarthritis in the knees.

Osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee occurs as a result of the breaking down of the cartilage present between the knees. This breakdown leads to knee pain caused by friction in the knee joint.  

Pain, swelling, knee stiffness (especially in the morning), creaking sound while moving the knees, warm feeling within the joints, and reduced knee motility are some symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. This blog compiles the best treatment for osteoarthritis in the knees.

Diagnosis of Osteoarthritis in Knee

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common, chronic condition affecting joints. It is a degenerative joint condition and is otherwise known as wear-and-tear arthritis. However, osteoarthritis (OA) can happen in any joint. However, the most commonly affected joint by osteoarthritis is the knee.
A doctor shall conduct a physical exam to assess the osteoarthritis of the knee. The doctor will check for symptoms like:
  1. Swelling 
  2. Tenderness 
  3. Range of motion of the knee joint. 
The doctor will also ask the patient to perform activities such as walking in a straight line or performing certain types of movements that will help him diagnose the condition.
After taking a proper medical history and conducting physical exams, the doctor will order certain tests. These tests could include the following:
  1. Laboratory Tests
    1. CBC (Complete Blood Cell Count): A CBC helps rule out other causes of knee pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
    2. Joint fluid analysis
  2. Imaging Tests
    1. X-rays: X-rays can help diagnose osteoarthritis by revealing smaller spaces between two bones. This indicates the loss of cartilage. 
    2. MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging): MRI is ordered if X-rays don't suggest osteoarthritis in the knee. It highlights soft tissues such as cartilage. It can also help rule out other potentially more dangerous knee osteoarthritis causes.
Based on the results and severity of the condition, the doctor shall suggest the best treatment option. They might also recommend using home remedies to manage knee osteoarthritis at home.

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Osteoarthritis Knee Treatment Home Remedies

Regarding osteoarthritis knee treatment, the central focus is on improving the symptoms, pain management, and mobility. Various home remedies can be undertaken to improve movement and add strength to the knee muscles. These home remedies also provide osteoarthritis knee swelling treatment. The various osteoarthritis knee treatment home remedies include:
  1. Exercising 
    1. The best answer to what is the best treatment for osteoarthritis in the knees is exercising. Regular exercise can help in osteoarthritis knee treatment by strengthening muscles and improving mobility. Not doing any physical activity can make the knee joint stiff and slow down the healing process.
    2. Performing low-impact exercises like walking, cycling, yoga, tai chi, or swimming can help reduce the progression. It is equally important to take a break and rest while exercising for osteoarthritis knee treatment. One can also take assistance from a physiotherapist to devise a proper exercise regime for osteoarthritis knee treatment. 
  2. Healthy weight management 
    1. Being overweight can put a lot of strain on the knees. Obesity also increases the risk of other diseases like heart problems, high blood pressure, etc. Losing weight is a good way to alleviate pain and reduce swelling in the knees. A healthy diet and mild physical exercises can aid in losing weight, which in turn can help in osteoarthritis knee treatment. 
  3. Heat or Cold therapy 
    1. Using heat or cold therapy can be highly beneficial in reducing osteoarthritis knee pain. Heat therapy using a hot compress can help reduce pain and improve blood circulation around the joint by soothing the stiff joint and muscles. An electrical heating pad, hot cloth or towel, heated pack, or water bottle can be used for hot compression.
    2. Regarding osteoarthritis knee swelling treatment, cold therapy can do wonders. Cold compression or therapy using a bag of frozen peas, ice cubes wrapped in a cloth, or a gel pack can help alleviate pain and reduce knee joint inflammation. 
  4. Massage
    1. A nice massage to the knees is one of the most common osteoarthritis knee treatment home remedies, which can help in soothing the pain. Massage can be done using oils or pain reliving gels for added effects. Professional help can also be taken to get a proper massage done. 

Medical Treatment for Osteoarthritis in Knees

In case the home remedies do not provide relief to the pain caused by knee osteoarthritis. The doctor may recommend one of the following treatment methods depending on the severity and complexity of the case. 

Pain Relieving Medications 

  1. Over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medications are usually taken for osteoarthritis knee treatment. These medications help in relieving pain, swelling, and other symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knees. Certain medicines that can help in relieving pain include
  2. Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): These medications are available easily OTC and are effective in reducing pain and inflammation in the knee. 
  3. Analgesics: Analgesic medications can help in osteoarthritis knee treatment. These medications can be used if the patient is intolerant to NSAIDs. 
  4. Topical treatment: Creams, gels, or sprays containing NSAIDs or capsaicin can help ease the pain in the knee. 
  5. Prescription Medications: When OTC medications do not help ease knee pain, one can consult the doctor for prescription medicines.
    Note: Before taking any drugs, OTC or prescribed, the patient needs to inform the doctor about any medications they are already taking and any other conditions they have. Some of these medications might lead to side effects, so it is advised to take proper advice from a doctor before taking any OTC medications. 

 Corticosteroids Or Hyaluronic Acid Knee Injections 

  1. Steroids can be used for osteoarthritis knee swelling treatment and pain management. For osteoarthritis knee treatment, steroids or hyaluronic acid injection may be given directly into the knees. Hyaluronic acid, naturally present in the body, helps lubricate the joints. Hence, the doctor might also provide a hyaluronic acid injection (Viscosupplementation) for osteoarthritis knee treatment. 

 Alternative Therapies 

  1. For osteoarthritis knee treatment, various alternative therapies can help. These alternative therapies combined with medications and home remedies can be the solution for what is the best treatment for osteoarthritis in the knees. 
  2. Alternative therapies like acupuncture, physiotherapy, and occupational therapy are highly beneficial for managing pain, improving muscle strength and joint flexibility, and getting everyday work done with mild pain. Alternative therapies include stress management and osteoarthritis knee treatment home remedies (which will be discussed in the upcoming subheadings). 

Supportive Devices 

  1. In certain instances, supportive devices like a walking cane or a knee brace can be used for osteoarthritis knee treatment to provide extra support and reduce knee stress. 

Surgery 

The doctor might recommend surgery when the joint pain worsens and other treatment options don't work. Various surgeries are available for osteoarthritis knee treatment, which include

  1. Arthroscopic surgery: The surgeon repairs the injury and removes particles like bone fragments or damaged cartilage. In this surgery, an arthroscope (a small camera) is used to see the insides of the joint. This surgery is minimally invasive and helps in relieving osteoarthritis symptoms.
  2. Osteotomy: In this surgery, the procedure is carried out to reshape the bones, which helps align them better. This surgery is usually conducted in patients who are not obese, are below 60 years of age, or have pain in only one knee. Osteotomy may help in slowing down the joint damage progression. 
  3. Total knee replacement: This surgical procedure involves replacing the damaged parts of the knee joint with an artificial one

Lifestyle Modifications for Knee Osteoarthritis

A huge part of how a condition progresses or heals depends on the lifestyle led. A sedentary lifestyle with poor dietary choices can only worsen osteoarthritis. Making small changes in daily life can be helpful in the long run for better management of the condition. These changes include:
  1. A Healthy Diet: 
    1. There is a famous saying that "you are what you eat." Eating a healthy and clean diet will not only aid in healthy weight loss but will also improve the condition of knee osteoarthritis. 
    2. For osteoarthritis knee treatment, it is essential to include foods rich in anti-inflammatories. For example, green tea, nuts, seeds, cruciferous vegetables, spices like ginger and turmeric, etc., can help knee osteoarthritis; hence, they must be eaten regularly. 
  2. Stress Management: Managing stress can help in better pain management. Practising tai chi, meditation, or relaxation techniques like rhythmic breathing can help relieve stress, aiding in pain management. 
  3. Be Active: Engaging in low-impact exercises is one of the most important steps in managing osteoarthritis. Exercise can help strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee joint thus reducing the impact and stress. It also helps improve the mobility of the knee joint. 
  4. Get Proper Rest: The primary step in management is to give the body adequate rest. This ensures that the affected knee has time to recover. It also avoids further injury. 

Things to Avoid during Knee Osteoarthritis Treatment

There are certain things that are to be avoided doing osteoarthritis knee treatment. These things include:
  1. Avoid supplements like glucosamine or chondroitin sulfate as the side effects may alter the treatment and worsen the medical condition.
  2. Avoid treatment methods like transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), or using modified shoes and insoles, as they are advised not to be used by the current guidelines, and some may even cause side effects. 
  3. While performing physiotherapy exercises, ensure that you are using the correct form and not overstressing.
  4. Do not start any exercise routine or use medications for a long time without seeking a doctor's advice.
  5. Avoid eating processed foods, excessive sugar, unhealthy fats, or red meats, as these foods promote inflammation and can increase your body weight.

Takeaway

While osteoarthritis might have no cure, doing the right treatments at the right time can help in symptomatic improvement and slowing down the progression of the condition. A combination of osteoarthritis knee treatment, including medications, home remedies, and exercises, can be beneficial for better management of osteoarthritis in the long run.

Where osteoarthritis knee treatment is important, it is important to get it right. The best answer for what is the best treatment for osteoarthritis in the knees is the one prescribed by the doctor, as the osteoarthritis knee treatment given by the doctor is after a proper assessment of the patient's condition and overall health. 

At HexaHealth, we ensure that your conditions are diagnosed and treated promptly. We're the largest network of hospitals and doctors in the country, and we're just one tap away! So get in touch with us right now! Feel free to contact us if you are still confused or have consistent osteoarthritis pain.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, the damage that has been caused by osteoarthritis cannot be reversed. However, a combination of various available osteoarthritis knee treatments like physiotherapy, exercises, medications, and home remedies can help slow down the progression of the condition and better manage the symptoms. 
 
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Osteoarthritis can be treated with a combination of medications, lifestyle modifications, physiotherapy, and home remedies. 
 
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Lifestyle and exercise play an important role in arthritis. A combination of lifestyle changes and regular exercise can help alleviate pain, increase mobility, better symptomatic management, and decrease the condition's progression. 
 
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Pain-relieving medications, a healthy lifestyle, exercise and physiotherapy, and home remedies are the answer to what is the best treatment for osteoarthritis in the knees.
 
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Yes, there are various home remedies to treat knee arthritis. Some osteoarthritis knee treatment home remedies include massage, heat or cold therapy, a good healthy diet, regular exercises, and stress management. 
 
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Updated on : 13 June 2024

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational and learning purposes only. It doesn't cover every medical condition and might not be relevant to your personal situation. This information isn't medical advice, isn't meant for diagnosing any condition, and shouldn't replace talking to a certified medical or healthcare professional.

Reviewer

Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

MBBS, DNB General Surgery, Fellowship in Minimal Access Surgery, FIAGES

12 Years Experience

Dr Aman Priya Khanna is a well-known General Surgeon, Proctologist and Bariatric Surgeon currently associated with HealthFort Clinic, Health First Multispecialty Clinic in Delhi. He has 12 years of experience in General Surgery and worke...View More

Author

Rajath R Prabhu

Rajath R Prabhu

MSc. Clinical Research I PG Diploma in Public Health Services Management

3 Years Experience

His work in medical content writing and proofreading is noteworthy. He has also contributed immensely to public health research and has authored four scientific manuscripts in international journals. He was assoc...View More

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