Osteoarthritis cannot be reversed but there is good evidence to suggest certain treatments can be used to help reduce pain and aid mobility.
– Medications: Pain relievers ( i.e. Paracetamol) and NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, i.e. Ibuprofen ) can be taken to alleviate ongoing pain and swelling issues. Caution should be taken for people with underlying medical issues and should be discussed with your GP/ consultant.
Physiotherapy can strengthen muscles around the joint. This will help increase flexibility and reduce pain.
– Low impact exercise for example cycling, walking or water aerobics can strengthen muscles around the joint.
– Weight loss can relieve some pressure on the knees and reduce pain.
There are 3 different types of injections that can be administered:
Corticosteroid Injection: an anti-inflammatory which can be injected directly into the tissues that are causing the symptoms.
Hyaluronic Acid Injection: Hyaluronic acid occurs naturally within the body. It is part of the synovial fluid which lubricates the joint and acts as a cushion. When OA is present synovial fluid is produced in smaller amounts leading to an increase of load on the joint causing pain. These injections are sometimes referred to as ‘viscosupplementation’, meaning they add fluid to the joints.
Platelet Rich Plasma Injection (PRP): can be used to treat mild to moderate OA. Platelets play an important role in the healing process of injured or inflamed tissue. PRP injections use patient’s own blood sample which is separated and injected safely under ultrasound to the specific area.
A joint replacement can be carried out where the damaged joint surfaces are removed and replaced with plastic and metal parts. Depending on the extent of OA, it may be total knee replacement or partial knee replacement.