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Articles > Can't shake knee pain? 5 strategies that can help

Can't shake knee pain? 5 strategies that can help

If you_ve tried over-the-counter pain relievers and still have osteoarthritis (OA) pain in your knee, don_t give up. Today, there are many options to choose from. Here_s expert insight on treating knee OA based on newly updated guidelines from the American College of Rheumatology (ACR).

Dorothy Foltz-Gray

Provided by HealthMonitor

1. Try custom shoe inserts.
These can help take pressure off the inside or outside of the knee joint, says rheumatologist Nathan Wei, MD, director of the Arthritis Treatment Center in Frederick, MD. "For instance, if you have osteoarthritis on the [outside] of your knee, you'd wear an insole that [lifts] the inside part of your foot." Shoe inserts help realign the leg and straighten the knee, taking pressure off the arthritic part of the joint.
What to consider: Don't buy over-the-counter inserts, says Dr. Wei. "They need to be made by a podiatrist or
occupational therapist."

2. Work with a physical therapist.
She can design a safe exercise program that won't aggravate your knee and give tips on how to use aids like knee taping and canes. Physical therapists are trained to evaluate how well your joints, muscles and ligaments are working. They can spot problem areas and help correct poor alignment.
What to consider: Ask your doctor to recommend someone who has experience working with knee problems.

3. Get the right kind of exercise.
There are two key components, says Roy Altman, MD, professor of medicine in the division of rheumatology and immunology at UCLA and a member of the ACR guideline committee: aerobic exercise, such as bike riding, and strengthening exercises, like leg lifts. Strengthening muscles and ligaments that support the knee helps take pressure off the joint. And being aerobically fit makes it easier to stay mobile. To prevent injury, ask your healthcare provider for suggestions.
What to consider: "Exercise should be low impact, such as swimming, yoga or tai chi," says Dr. Altman. Avoid high-impact exercise, which stresses the knee.

4. Ask your doctor about prescription medications.
" Anti-inflammatories If you can't use over-the-counter pain meds (such as ibuprofen), other oral or topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be an option. They are available by prescription only.

Like all NSAIDs, these forms can relieve pain and inflammation, but "there is much less risk for stomach upset or bleeding," says rheumatologist and ACR member Joseph Markenson, MD, professor of clinical medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.
What to consider: Any type of NSAID can cause side effects, although topicals carry less risk.

" Corticosteroid injections
If you can't use NSAIDs, your doctor can inject medication directly into the knee. "Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatories," says Dr. Markenson. They work quickly and usually provide about four to five months of relief.
What to consider: These injections shouldn't be used by people taking blood thinners or those with a blood-clotting problem, notes Dr. Markenson.

" Hyaluronic acid injections
This substance is a gel-like lubricant that works like a shock absorber in the joint, helping it to move more smoothly. These injections are used to relieve moderate to severe knee pain. How quickly they work depends on your body's response, but studies show more than half of people respond within four weeks.
What to consider: Tell your healthcare provider if you have any allergies before having this type of injection.

5. Nudge the needle on your scale.
If you're overweight, studies prove that shedding a few pounds can provide relief. "If you lose 10 pounds, you're reducing 60 pounds of pressure on your knee joint," notes Dr. Altman. "People who lose even a modest amount of weight have less knee pain.'
What to consider: You already know that eating more fruits and veggies is a great way to to achieve slow, steady weight loss'the kind that sticks. If that's a challenge, try this: Instead of using veggies as side dishes, incorporate them into your main dish'dice carrots into a pilaf, fold zucchini into an omelet, or stuff a quesadilla with broccoli.
Allergy AIDS Knee Pain Obesity Osteoarthritis Arthralgia, Knee Knee Pain Pain Ibuprofen Arthritis Exercise More Inflammation Upset Stomach

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