Knee osteoarthritis notoriously causes pain in the joint that escalates over time, eventually resulting in stiffness and swelling. Unsurprisingly, the knee is one of the joints most commonly affected by osteoarthritis as it’s a weight-bearing joint you use to stand and walk daily. Osteoarthritis can develop because of wear and tear in the joint. Without proper management, severe osteoarthritis pain can limit your mobility.
While severe arthritis pain in the knee can be limiting, orthopedic surgery might not be necessary just yet. You can take plenty of steps to alleviate knee pain from osteoarthritis and maintain your independence. At North Point Orthopaedics in Munster and Crown Point, Indiana, our team of board-certified orthopedic surgeons creates individual care plans for osteoarthritis management that prioritize conservative treatments first.
Developing a deeper understanding of your condition may help you better understand the best practices for managing osteoarthritis. The most common form of arthritis affecting over 32.5 million people in the United States alone, osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones deteriorates over time. This breakdown is what leads to the pain, swelling, and limited mobility you experience.
While there is currently no cure for osteoarthritis, properly managing your condition with personalized professional guidance can minimize its impact on your life. Here are a few strategies our experts might recommend:
If you suspect you have severe osteoarthritis in your knee, the first and most crucial step is to consult a health care professional. The experts at North Point Orthopaedics can assess the severity of your condition through physical examination, X-rays, and, potentially, other imaging tests. Based on their evaluation, they can provide you with personalized treatment options.
Simple lifestyle changes can make a significant difference in the severity of your knee pain. Avoid high-impact activities in favor of low-impact exercises like swimming or cycling, and use supportive footwear. Additionally, consider making your home more knee pain-friendly by installing assistive features like handrails and ramps.
Medications can be an effective way to manage osteoarthritis knee pain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen or prescription medications can help reduce pain and inflammation. However, you’ll need to follow your doctor's recommendations and be aware of any potential side effects.
Physical therapy can be highly beneficial in managing severe osteoarthritis knee pain. A trained physical therapist can create a customized exercise program that focuses on strengthening the muscles around your knee and improving the joint’s range of motion. These exercises can help alleviate pain and stabilize your knee.
Being at a healthy weight limits the stress placed on your arthritic knee joints, easing pain and inflammation. Extra weight exacerbates your already painful joints. Eat a balanced and nutritious diet and exercise regularly to help shed extra pounds.
For individuals with severe osteoarthritis in the knee, assistive devices such as knee braces, crutches, or walking aids can provide much-needed support and take pressure off your painful knee. Using them makes daily activities more manageable.
In some cases, the team at North Point Orthopaedics recommends injections to manage knee pain. Corticosteroid injections can help reduce inflammation, while hyaluronic acid injections can provide lubrication to the knee joint. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections enhance your body’s natural repair system to reduce inflammation and tissue damage. These treatments can offer temporary relief and improve your overall knee function.
When conservative treatments are ineffective, surgery may be necessary. Total knee replacement surgery is a common option for individuals with severe osteoarthritis. During this procedure, the damaged knee joint is replaced with an artificial one, providing long-term pain relief and improved mobility.
Though you can’t cure your knee osteoarthritis, you don’t have to let the pain stop you from enjoying life. Call your nearest North Point Orthopaedics office today at 219-327-6180 or request an appointment online for personalized arthritis care.