Knee Osteoarthritis is a condition that occurs when the cartilage that provides cushion for the knee joint starts to wear out. It is common among aging individuals and can also develop as a result of an old injury. As of today, there is no osteoarthritis treatment available but there are various ways that can help in reducing the pain.
The traditional methods to treat osteoarthritis have focused on relieving the symptoms of this condition. Such methods include prescribing non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, acetaminophen, steroid injections, and replacing the joint’s natural lubricant with viscosupplements. Long-term use of NSAIDs such as aspirin or ibuprofen and steroids might have serious side effects. Also, replacing the knee joint completely might also not work for some individuals. Given these downsides, the outlook towards osteoarthritis treatment is changing for the better.
In this article, we list some of the latest and better measures to take for reducing osteoarthritis knee pain.
Hot and Cold Compressions – Alternating hot and cold compresses to the joint can be a very helpful home remedy to reduce knee pain. Also, taking a warm bath proves to be comforting in case of immense pain.
Massage – Consult a massage therapist to understand effective ways of massaging your knee to relieve pain. Gently rubbing the knee joint (with or without oil as suggested by the therapist) helps increase blood flow to the joint area that eases sore spots.
Capsaicin – Capsaicin is a chili pepper extract that can be applied to the skin for osteoarthritis pain relief. It starts affecting pain relief only after it is applied for a few weeks three to four times a day but the results could be wondrous. On the other hand, some patients might be unable to tolerate the irritation. Also, one needs to thoroughly wash their hands after applying capsaicin cream and maybe use latex gloves.
Acupuncture – It is a healing technique where hair-thin needles are inserted into the skin at precise points on the body. Studies show that it is helpful in improving body functions for those who suffer from osteoarthritis.
Movement Therapy – Gentle stretches and exercises when combined with deep breathing result in therapeutic healing for osteoarthritis knee pain and improve movement. Two popular kinds of movement therapy are Yoga and Tai chi. Yoga should be practiced in its gentle form and under instructions from a certified practitioner who has a knowledge of affected joints.
Occupational Therapy – Occupational therapy is adopting ways to do everyday tasks to avoid extra stress on the painful knee joints. One can consult with an occupational therapist to follow your daily regime. For example, using a bench in the shower instead of standing could help with osteoarthritis knee pain.
Osteoarthritis Knee Exercises
Exercise is among the most effective treatments for osteoarthritis knee pain. It improves joint flexibility and strengthens the muscle that supports the joints. Also, exercise helps in weight loss that reduces the strain on joints due to excess body weight. Exercises such as swimming and riding stationary bicycles have proven to be highly effective for osteoarthritis knee pain. One should consult a physical trainer or a licensed physiotherapist before starting the exercise regime. It is advised to start slowly with light exercises and gradually increase the level.
Osteoarthritis knee pain could be reduced by controlling your diet. Some of the food items that you should include in your diet are:
- Coldwater fish such as tuna or salmon for Omega-3 fatty acids
- Green leafy vegetables
- Beans, flaxseeds, and walnuts
- Switch to olive oil or Canola oil and consume butter or margarine
- Green tea should be your choice of beverage
Some of the food items that you should avoid or limit are:
- Egg yolks and red meat to avoid Omega-6 fatty acids
- Fried foods
- Baked goods and other processed foods high in sugar
- Fruit juice
Supplements – Avocado-soybean unsaponifiables is a nutritional supplement that is widely used across Europe against knee osteoarthritis. It is formulated with a mixture of avocado and soybean oils. It acts as an anti-inflammatory and prevents damage to the knee joint.
Other Ways to Treat Osteoarthritis Knee Pain
Shoe Inserts – A device such as shoe inserts helps reduce pain while standing and walking by supporting the joint and relieving it of the pressure.
Assistive Devices – A walking cane or other gripping and grabbing devices are very useful to reduce osteoarthritis knee pain while movement. They help to take off the weight from the knee and back while walking. One should always hold the cane in the opposite hand to the leg that hurts. Occupational therapists are the professionals to consult before moving to assistive devices.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) – This a technique that uses low voltage electrical current for osteoarthritis knee treatment. The electrical current relieves pain from the affected area and provides short-term relief.
Osteoarthritis Knee Treatment in Future
To date, Osteoarthritis has not had a major breakthrough when it comes to effective long-term treatments. Drug development has also been slow because of the nature of the disease that itself follows a slow process of deterioration and it is difficult to track treatment results. Researchers predict that it could be several more years before a promising approach revolutionizes osteoarthritis knee treatment. Therefore, these remedies become even more crucial for pain relief for people with knee osteoarthritis.