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8 ways to treat knee pain
The aches, pains and stiffness of knee arthritis can make it hard to live life on your terms. But there are ways to feel better and get back to some of the things you want to do.
If you have arthritis, talk with your doctor about your treatment options. And scroll on to learn about some things that may help.
1. WEIGHT LOSS.
Are you overweight? If so, shedding a few pounds can take some of the stress off your knee. This may improve your pain and slow the damage to your joint.
2. ARTHRITIS-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES.
Physical activity is good for arthritis. It can help reduce your pain, keep your joints moving and burn calories, which helps if you need to lose weight. Just be sure to protect your joints by choosing lower-impact exercises that may be easier on your knee, like swimming, cycling or tai chi.
3. PHYSICAL THERAPY.
A physical therapist or your doctor can help you stay active safely. You may learn exercises that make your muscles stronger, which can help support your joint and reduce stress on your knee. And the more you move, the more limber you may be.
4. ARTHRITIS-FRIENDLY DEVICES.
Simple devices can help you get around easier and do some of your daily tasks. A cane can help with walking. It may help you to stay steady on your feet. A brace can help ease pain and support your knee.
Many types of medicines—prescription or over-the-counter—can help reduce arthritis pain. Corticosteroid joint injections can provide relief that may last for a few months. Your healthcare provider can help you find the right approach for your knee pain.
6. HEAT AND COLD.
Hot or cold therapies can help soothe your sore knee. You can use a heating pad or an ice pack. You can also use topical pain-relieving creams, such as products with capsaicin, menthol or camphor.
7. ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES.
Along with your main treatments, you and your doctor might decide to try alternative therapies, such as acupuncture. Acupuncture may help with arthritis knee pain, evidence suggests. But the benefits of some therapies aren't clear yet. It's a good idea to talk with your doctor about any alternative therapy you want to try.
8. JOINT SURGERY.
If you're having a lot of trouble with daily activities, you might consider surgery. Knee replacement is one option, and it has a high success rate. Most people who have it enjoy less pain. And they are able to return to many of their favorite activities.
Knee replacement surgery: Is it right for you?
A new knee can mean a new lease on life. Our joint replacement decision tool can help you understand some of the key considerations when you're thinking about surgery.
Sources: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons; American College of Rheumatology; Arthritis Foundation; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. "Arthritis of the Knee." https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/arthritis-of-the-knee.
- American College of Rheumatology. "Osteoarthritis Guideline." https://rheumatology.org/osteoarthritis-guideline.
- Arthritis Foundation. "Osteoarthritis of the Knee." https://www.arthritis.org/diseases/more-about/osteoarthritis-of-the-knee.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Physical Activity for Arthritis." https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/physical-activity/index.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Farthritis%2Fbasics%2Fphysical-activity-overview.html.
The information found in the Health Library is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice nor does it represent the views or position of WHMC. Readers should always consult with their healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment, including for specific medical needs.