The unpleasant symptoms of knee arthritis are often life-altering. A person’s ability to function on a day to day basis can be severely limited by:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Weakness
  • Stiffness

While arthritis can’t be cured, the above-mentioned symptoms can be relieved. The most common ways are:

Lifestyle changes

  1. Diet : Weight loss due to an improved diet takes a tremendous amount of stress off the knee.
  1. Physical activity: Participating in low-impact physical activity strengthens the muscles that support the knee.
  1. Activity modification: Reducing participation in high-impact activity relieves symptoms and slows down the progression of arthritis.
  1. Physical aids: Orthopedic braces, canes, and walkers are used to take the weight of the knee and improve mobility.
  1. Physical therapy (PT): PT uses strengthening and stretching exercises to reduce symptoms and improve mobility and quality of life.

Medications

  1. Over-the-counter (OTC) anti-inflammatories: Acetaminophen is the most commonly used OTC anti-inflammatory and, in many cases, the first medication used to treat knee arthritis.
  1. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS): NSAIDS decrease pain and inflammation. They’re available in OTC and prescription forms. The most common are ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), and COX-2 inhibitors (Celebrex).
  1. Injections: Corticosteroids are a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that are injected into the knee. They are given in at least three-month increments. Gel injections and platelet rich plasma injections can be given to provide longer relief of arthritis knee pain that may last up to 1 year.

Surgical Options

  1. Arthroscopic knee surgery: This type of surgery is used to treat soft tissue that’s been damaged due to arthritis. The two most common procedures performed are loose body removal and meniscal debridement. This surgery works for patients with mechanical symptoms and specific meniscal or loose body problems associated with arthritis. This surgery is unsuccessful for patients with only arthritis.
  1. Knee replacement surgery: Severe knee arthritis is treated by removing affected bone and then replacing it with metal components. The quality of life dramatically improves following a total knee replacement which can give decades of improvement. In select individuals with arthritis limited to one side of the knee a minimally invasive unicondylar knee replacement may be performed which accelerates rehabilitation and feels more like a normal knee.

Which treatment option is right for you is best determined by an orthopedic specialist. Even though they can’t cure arthritis, they can manage it to the point where you live with little to no pain.


The physicians at Total Orthopedics and Sports Medicine focus on both the surgical and non-surgical treatment of bone and joint injuries as well as arthritis.  Renowned experts Dr. Charles Ruotolo, Dr. Richard McCormack, Dr. Brett Spain and Dr. Paul Pipitone lead our Knee Team.   Fortunately, many patients can be treated non-surgically with a combination of conservative modalities coordinated by the Total Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Team. If surgery is necessary, the practice uses a multidisciplinary approach to create a treatment plan that focuses on the patient’s lifestyle and activities and helps them get back to those activities quickly and effectively. Total Orthopedics and Sports Medicine has locations throughout Long Island.