Other alternatives you can try first
Even before thinking about knee replacement surgery, your doctor will probably try other options first. Many patients with osteoarthritis and other degenerative diseases may ultimately need knee replacement surgery. Still, it is sometimes more recommended to stay with conservative treatment.
In most cases, you will go through one or several of these treatments before considering knee replacement surgery:
- Oral medications: These are usually over-the-counter medications such as naproxen, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen. They are designed to fight inflammation. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe more potent anti-inflammatories.
- Ointments and creams: You can rub them onto your skin above the articulation. These creams and ointments have anti-inflammatory components and often lead to temporary relief of the symptoms.
- Intra-articular injections: These injections are administered directly into the affected articulation. They are corticosteroids and other components made to relieve inflammation. Each cortisone shot usually relieves the symptoms for a few months. They are generally given along with hyaluronic acid to improve the lubrication of the injection.
- Physical therapy and exercise: Strengthening your leg muscles is fundamental to recover. This can be achieved through exercise or physical therapy. However, if your condition is more severe, you might need clearance from your doctor before trying some types of strenuous physical activities.
- Weight loss: Sometimes, losing weight can be a part of the therapy if you’re obese or overweight. Your knees will be enduring three extra pounds for every extra pound of weight. Even before knee replacement surgery, most patients are recommended to lose weight.