Pharmacologic Treatment Options For Achy Knees

A diagnosis of osteoarthritis does not mean that surgery is inevitable, even when exercise and diet are no longer enough to control pain and stiffness. We’ve got the latest analysis of medication treatment options.

At Summit, we are committed to treating osteoarthritic joint pain with a full range of conservative non-surgical treatments before surgery should be considered. With early diagnosis, an osteoarthritic knee condition can often be controlled through supervised exercise and maintenance of a healthy weight.

When exercise and weight control alone are no longer able to successfully manage knee pain, medications can be added to your treatment plan to control pain and help you to maintain your lifestyle. Recently, the American Academy of Othopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) reviewed the evidence based conservative pharmacologic treatments for osteoarthritic knee joints, did a comprehensive evaluation of available scientific studies, and made recommendations based on the strength of each medication’s outcomes.

We’ve listed the medications identified by the AAOS as most effective, but it’s important to remember that your physician’s best judgment and a patient’s circumstances are also important in deciding on a course of treatment. The decision to add any medication to your treatment program should be determined in consultation with your physician.

Anti-inflammatory drugs (oral or topical NSAIDs): Strong recommendation. Although some NSAIDs can cause stomach irritation, a new generation of drugs called Cox-2 inhibitors may be more effective, and have fewer side effects.

Platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections: Inconclusive recommendation. Insufficient studies exist to enable the AAOS to make a recommendation for or against (PRP) injections, though existing studies show that after PRP injections, pain levels decreased. As more studies are done, we’ll have more information about the effectiveness of this treatment.

Other treatments did not deliver outcome improvements for patients, and the AAOS recommends against their use. The treatments discouraged by the AAOS include needle lavage and the use of hyaluronic acid.

Medical research is constantly improving care outcomes and exploring even better treatments. We will continue to keep you informed about the most recent osteoarthritic knee treatment developments to help you find the most effective treatments to minimize pain, and maximize your quality of life.

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  • Angela Voight, M.D.

    “My goal is to help people return to the activities they love as quickly and safely as possible. I want patients to feel like they are well cared for, that their concerns are heard, and that we work together to find the best treatment plan.”

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  • David Kittleson, M.D.

    “Participating in triathlons gives me a tangible sense what an active lifestyle can do to bones and joints. That gives me a firsthand understanding I take into every patient appointment and surgical procedure.”

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  • Eric Khetia, M.D.

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  • Jack Drogt, M.D.

    “As a hip and knee specialist, an orthopedic surgeon, and the President of Summit Orthopedics, I’m dedicated to providing patients with the highest level of care available. Our expertise extends beyond orthopedic care. We’re enabling people to live the lives they love.”

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  • Jack Skendzel, M.D.

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  • James Gannon, M.D.

    “Leading an active lifestyle provides an additional motivation to provide orthopedic care that will allow patients to return to the activities they enjoy.”

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  • Jeffrey Furmanek, D.O.

    “My training has taught me to understand that the human body is a complex sum of its parts with an innate ability to heal. My role as an orthopedic surgeon can be an important
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  • Jerome Perra, M.D.

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    “Whether an athlete or non-athlete — eight or eighty years old — the goal is optimal results. We take the time to listen carefully and communicate with patients about their
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  • Kristoffer Breien, M.D.

    “I tend to be more conservative in my approach, reserving surgery as a last option. In essence, I strive to care for patients and their problems in the same manner my family and I expect to be treated when we seek medical attention.”

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  • Peter Daly, M.D.

    “I understand the concern of athletes to get back to their sport. And I work in combination with our therapists
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