4 Treatment Options Your Doctor May Suggest for Your Chronic Knee Pain
Knee pain can interfere with your life in a big way. When the pain is bad enough, you can't bear your weight or walk with ease. You may eventually need to get around in a wheelchair unless you undergo medical treatment. Visiting a doctor that specializes in knee pain is the first step to recovery. Here are some treatments he or she might suggest.
If your pain is caused by inflammation, your doctor might inject a corticosteroid medication directly into your knee joint. This medicine reduces inflammation in the joint so pain is relieved. If the treatment is effective, you might have less pain for a few weeks after the injection. This could be a treatment to try when your knee arthritis flares up or when your knee is swollen, stiff, and painful.
When it hurts your knee to walk, you have a tendency to walk less and less. While this might temporarily help your pain, it can lead to worse problems because the muscles around your knee become weak. When your knee muscles are weak, they don't support the joint properly. This allows it to wobble slightly and cause pain when you walk.
To counter this, your doctor may send you to a physical therapist for knee-strengthening exercises. These make the muscles that support your knee stronger so the joint is held in the proper position as you walk. Your doctor or therapist may also provide you with a knee brace that helps with joint stabilization, or a cane to help you bear your weight while your muscles strengthen.
In some cases, an injection of hyaluronic acid can help knee pain. The cause of your knee pain might be a thinning of lubricating fluid around the joint. This can cause bones to grate against each other when you walk. Hyaluronic acid can be injected into your knee to replace the lost lubrication. It may take a series of several shots to get relief that lasts for several months, and then the injections are repeated. Hyaluronic acid injections are used to treat osteoarthritis of your joint and they work better for some people than others.
Changes in your lifestyle might help reduce your pain. If you're overweight, your doctor may place you on a diet. The extra weight you carry puts more stress than necessary on your knee. You might also be encouraged to eat a healthier diet so you can avoid foods that contribute to joint inflammation. Your doctor might ask you to stay as active as possible in a way that doesn't hurt your joints, such as swimming. This keeps your knee flexible and strong. Plus, increased activity can help you lose weight.
These treatments might help your knee pain along with using pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory oral medication. Your doctor might even inject an anesthetic into your knee during times when pain is severe. However, if these treatments don't work well for you, then your doctor may recommend knee replacement surgery that removes damaged joint tissue and replaces it with an artificial joint.
With the damaged joint removed, you should be free from knee pain and have increased range of motion and mobility. While surgery might be an effective treatment for chronic knee pain, your doctor may want you to try other forms of treatment first and save a knee replacement for the last resort. To learn more about your options, contact services like Pottstown Surgical Associates.