In some cases, the damage to the knee’s cartilage may not be severe enough to warrant knee replacement surgery. While there may still be mild pain, this can be managed through a number of noninvasive options. Dr. Goyal’s precise diagnostic expertise can determine if knee replacement is needed right away, or if it may be put off while much more conservative treatment is undergone in his North Virginia office.
Alternatives to knee replacement surgery include:
Weight loss and exercise
Relieving the burden carried by your knees can go a long way towards delaying or eliminating the need for surgery. It has been shown that losing even 15 pounds can significantly increase the quality of life in patients suffering from any number of knee conditions. Exercise will not only help the weight loss, it will also provide the knee with mobility and strength, which further reduces the pain.
One very good exercise for knee pain is swimming as it reduces pressure on the joints. Many pools offer warmer water for those exercising to relieve arthritis or other joint pain. Check with your local YMCA to see if they offer warm pools and aqua exercise. Physical therapy clinics usually have water therapy pools.
Physical therapists are trained to provide strength and mobility training to rehabilitate the function of muscles. When it comes to the knee, a regimented program from a physical therapist can be crucial in extending the life of your knee. Physical therapists can also use a number of other treatments to promote strength, including nerve stimulation, ultrasound, ice and heat, and other therapies that stimulate increased blood flow and muscle strength.
There are many physical therapists that specialize in treating joint problems. Americans have over 600,000 knee replacement surgeries each year. Physical therapists work closely with orthopedic surgeons in the rehabilitation of these patients. For patients who are not yet at the point of surgery, they have specialized training to help patients avoid surgery if possible. Targeted exercise, therapeutic massage, electrical stimulation of nerves and hot/cold therapy are treatments used to first alleviate pain and then to restore functionality.
Prolotherapy is an injection treatment delivered directly to the ligaments in the knee to increase blood flow and reserve of nutrients. It is done using a dextrose solution, which is a sugar mixture that stimulates tissue repair. Prolotherapy is typically done over several injections to the affected area.
Medication or cortisone shots
There are many medications available to reduce inflammation and provide relief. In some cases it may be even administered as a topical cream to control knee pain. Additionally, you may be prescribed steroid or cortisone injections. These serve to mimic natural hormones in the body, which help reduce inflammation at the knee joint. While these treatments are temporary, they can be administered in conjunction with other therapies for best results.
Stabilizing the knee so it can be used more freely is valid therapy for some patients. Neoprene sleeves can be effective in reducing pain if they are fitted properly. If it stays on comfortably it is the right size. There is no need to feel tight compression.
Some braces can be specially fitted to reduce pressure and transfer stress to the unaffected side of the knee. An orthopedic surgeon usually has to fit and special order these types of braces to get the expected result. Most knee problem come from arthritis. Arthritis tends to be worse on one side of the knee so balancing the pressure on the knee joint helps relieve pain.
Using a cane can also help with knee pain. Anything that takes pressure and weight off a damage knee joint will be beneficial.
As a proponent of musculoskeletal health, Washington DC knee specialist Dr. Goyal is an active participant in your pain relief. If you are suffering from knee pain, don’t hesitate to call his office in North Virginia. A representative will be happy to answer any questions and set an appointment for you to come in. Please give us a call today.
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