Best Treatment Options for Osteoarthritis of the Knee
Osteoarthritis is a chronic disorder which affects the joints. Osteoarthritis of the knee occurs when the cushion or cartilage between knee joints breaks down, causing stiffness, pain, and swelling. Usually, doctors recommend different treatments to help with the swelling and pain. Treatment options depend on a variety of factors such as the level of pain, the impact of osteoarthritis in your daily life, and your medical history. In most cases, treatment consists of some healthy lifestyle changes and a combination of therapies. Let’s have a look at some of the treatment options for osteoarthritis of the knee:
A change in lifestyle can be helpful if you have osteoarthritis of the knee. A doctor can recommend the incorporation of some changes in your treatment plan such as:
Workout is necessary as it can help you cope with osteoarthritis. It helps with weight loss (to ease the strain on your joints), improves muscle strength, reduces joint swelling and pain, and preserves the range of movement in joints. Experts typically recommend low-impact aerobic workouts like walking, biking, or swimming. Another great option you can explore is water aerobics because it alleviates pressure on your joints and allows you to enjoy the benefits of an aerobic workout. In case your osteoarthritis is severe, avoid high impact exercises like step aerobics or running. Ensure to talk to a doctor about a suitable exercise regimen.
For people who are overweight, losing weight can be beneficial because it reduces the strain on the joints, thus alleviating their symptoms. Other than exercising regularly, one should eat healthy foods.
Below are essential tips for a balanced diet:
- Get at least two servings of fish each week
- Limit the intake of salt, saturated fats, and sugar
- Avoid fried foods
- Ensure your diet contains vegetables, proteins, fruits, fats, and carbohydrates
- Eat red meat only two times a week
The key here is to maintain a healthy body weight according to your body type and needs.
Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relief prescriptions
You can take osteoarthritis medication for relieving pain and minimizing your symptoms. Different brands of medicines in the market help to relieve mild pain, though some of them have common side effects like nausea and stomach problems. Your doctor will prescribe pain relievers depending on the severity of the condition. You can also get a joint replacement fluid that acts as a lubricant and shock absorber.
Therapies for rehabilitation and relief
Therapies can aid in relieving the symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee. Some options include occupational, physical, and alternative therapies. Physical therapy utilizes exercises to condition the muscles and improve joint mobility and flexibility. Occupational therapy helps you manage your normal activities like bathing, dressing, and working. You only need these therapies for a limited duration of time while you learn how to live with osteoarthritis.
Alternative therapies for osteoarthritis include hydrotherapy, massage, and relaxation therapies. You can also opt for acupuncture in some cases.
Viscosupplements for cushioning joints
People with osteoarthritis of the knee face a problem where the knee joint fluid degrades. These fluids offer lubrication and cushioning for the joints. Once viscosupplements are injected into the knee directly, they replace the degraded knee fluid with a gel substance that resembles the normal fluid found in a joint. Thus, it helps to relieve pain, and it cushions and lubricates the joints.
Surgeries to repair joints
In case you have severe joint pain and other therapies haven’t offered the relief you need, the next option you can consider is surgery. Your physician can help you decide if you need it or not. Common surgical options for osteoarthritis of the knee include:
- Osteotomy: This procedure involves cutting the bones to take excess pressure off the injured section of the joint and rightly align the bones thereafter. This treatment is suitable for people who are more active and aren’t 40 years old. People whose bones are not at correct angles can also opt for this surgery. The operation is quite useful and can stop joint damage.
- Arthroscopic surgery: This minimally invasive procedure is used to clean debris from the joints or to repair an injury on it. This treatment option is suitable for people who are under 40 years of age. It relieves the painful symptoms of osteoarthritis almost immediately.
- Joint replacement: This procedure is complicated, and it involves replacing the damaged or injured part of the knee with certain artificial parts. This procedure has been studied extensively and is proven to improve mobility and daily function while reducing pain. However, the joints wear out over time since they are artificial.
Whether you have mild, moderate, or severe osteoarthritis of the knee, your doctor can help you come up with the best treatment option. Make sure that you start your treatment immediately after you notice the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
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