Non-Surgical Orthopedic Treatments For People With Knee Deterioration

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Regardless of what you do or don't do, knee degeneration will eventually lead to one or several of the following symptoms: stiffness, tenderness, pain and/or discomfort, or swelling. Unfortunately, there is no way to foresee what type of symptoms will affect you once your knee joint begins to deteriorate or how severe the symptoms will become. It's up to you and your doctor to determine whether or not you should undergo knee replacement surgery, but before you decide to have your knee(s) replaced, you should consider trying some of these non-surgical orthopedic treatments.

Anti-Inflammatory Medications

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) can be prescribed by your doctor to help alleviate swelling, stiffness in the joint, and mild pain. If your symptoms aren't severe, you can also purchase nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications over the counter such as Motrin and aspirin. Keep in mind, taking NSAIDs for long periods of time, especially in large doses, can cause you to experience several side effects such as an upset stomach, ulcers, dizziness, fluid retention, and more. You should consider speaking with your doctor about the risks of treating knee deterioration with NSAIDs.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy and specific exercises can help strengthen the muscles, ligaments, and tissues surrounding the damaged portion of your knee. The stronger the surrounding area is, the less you'll rely on the actual knee joint. Specific exercises and stretching techniques can help increase the mobility of the joint as well, which in turn, can relieve some of the pain you might be experiencing. Your doctor may give you a list of specific exercises and stretches to complete on a regular basis, but you should also discuss the benefits of going to regular physical therapy appointments with your doctor to ensure you're doing as much as possible to treat your knee before surgery is your only option.


If NSAIDs are not effective, corticosteroid shots may be able to reduce any pain and swelling in your knee. Corticosteroids can be given as an injection — typically on an as-needed basis — or orally. If you doctor prescribes oral corticosteroids to treat your knee deterioration, it's important to follow the dosage instructions completely. Keep in mind, corticosteroids can cause changes in your physical appearance, as well as headaches, glaucoma, muscle weakness, ulcers, osteoporosis, and steroid-induced diabetes. So it's extremely important to discuss all of the potential side effects with your doctor before proceeding with the treatment.

Fortunately, knee replacement surgery isn't the only way to treat knee deterioration. However, if the condition goes untreated, knee replacement surgery may end up being your only option. So take the time to discuss your non-surgical treatment options with your doctor before the deterioration becomes too prominent. If you're interested in learning more, check with companies like Orthopaedic Associates of Muskegon.