Nonsurgical treatments such as medications, lifestyle changes, physical therapy and other remedies ameliorate the pain from knee arthritis, notes the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Surgical options include cartilage grafting, synovectomy, osteotomy, and either partial or total replacement of the knee joint.
Lifestyle changes such as losing weight to decrease stress on the knee joint and changing from activities that cause high impact, such as jogging, to activities with less impact, such as cycling, shield the knee and hinder the development of arthritis. Wearing a knee sleeve or brace, both during activities and at other times, also protects the joint, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Physical therapists design exercise regimens to suit the needs of individual patients. Certain movements enhance flexibility and range of motion while also strengthening the leg muscles that support the knee. Doctors also commonly prescribe medical treatments such as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. Over time, these medicines can have side effects, which patients should discuss with a physician, reports the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Cartilage grafting involves moving healthy cartilage from another area of the knee or from a cartilage bank to fill a gap in the affected cartilage. Osteotomy involves cutting the thigh or shin bone and reshaping it to decrease pressure on the knee. Synovectomy is the removal of damaged joint linings to cut down on swelling and pain. A knee replacement involves installing plastic or metal joint surfaces to replace damaged areas and renew function, as stated by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.