Knee Pain Relief: What Works, What Doesn't Work, And When To Consider Surgery

Knee pain is a problem that is very common. The pain can be from a minor injury and be healed in days, or the pain can be chronic and last a lifetime. Those who suffer from chronic knee pain are always looking for ways to relieve their pain.

Injections of hyaluronic acid into the knee joint is a procedure that many orthopedic specialists recommend in regards to helping with knee pain. The reason that hyaluronic acid is used is because that is the same fluid that is found in the joint to lubricate and cushion it. The theory behind the treatment is that knee pain is caused by a lack of the naturally-occurring hyaluronic acid and by adding more, you will help replace what has been lost. Even though this procedure is recommended, clinical trials have shown that injecting hyaluronic acid has little or no effect on relieving pain in the knee.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons seems to be conflicted on this procedure. On one hand, they say, "we cannot recommend using hyaluronic acid for patients with symptomatic osteoarthritis of the knee. Strength of recommendation: Strong." On their patient website, they contradict themselves by saying, "hyaluronic acid does seem to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties … [that] may last for several months," though "not all patients will have relief of pain."

The most common, and successful, way to relieve knee pain is diet and exercise. Exercise can be difficult for a person who suffers pain every time they take a step, but walking and running is not the only form of exercise that can help. Low impact aerobics and water exercises have shown to improve the pain levels of people who suffer from knee pain. Diet is just as important as exercise, as well. Being overweight adds stress to the knee. By losing weight, knee pain has the potential to be decreased.

If the pain is so bad that a person can't do anything, then surgery to replace the joint is the last option. Knee replacement surgery has now become very common. Surgeons do this procedure over 600,000 times a year. Having this type of surgery is something that a patient and surgeon need to decide together. There is no set of standard criteria that a patient needs to meet in order to have their knee replaced. Each person is different. The surgeon will put the patient through a series of tests and determine if surgery is the right way to go. If the surgeon does recommend a knee replacement, don't put it off. Putting off surgery can lead to more problems and more pain.

Knee pain impacts almost every activity a person does. If you are having any type of discomfort, consult a doctor. Don't wait until it is too late.

[Image via]