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.

When to seek treatment for your arthritis

Arthritis doesn’t have to spell the end of an active life. If you are experiencing worrisome symptoms or persistent pain, the renowned arthritis specialists at Summit Orthopedics can help. We work with you to confirm a diagnosis and develop an appropriate conservative treatment plan. If nonsurgical treatments fail to support your lifestyle goals, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons will consult with you and discuss appropriate surgical options. Summit is home to innovative joint replacement options. Our Vadnais Heights Surgery Center is one of only two surgery centers nationally to receive The Joint Commission’s Advanced Certification for Total Hip and Total Knee Replacement.

Start your journey to healthier joints. Find your arthritis expert, request an appointment online, or call us at (651) 968–5201 to schedule a consultation.

Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MNPlymouth, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as additional community clinics throughout the metro and southern Minnesota.

More resources for you

Share this on
Share on FacebookShare on TwitterPin on Pinterest
  • Angela Voight MD

    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.”

    More about this expert

  • Daren Wickum MD

    Daren Wickum, M.D.

    “Quality of life really boils down to remaining active. Keeping patients mobile keeps me on my toes. So does keeping up with my son.”

    More about this expert

  • Eric Khetia MD

    Eric Khetia, M.D.

    “My goal is to lead an active, healthy life and to allow my patients to do the same. Restoring them to pre-injury levels of functioning and allowing them to pursue the activities they enjoy inspires me.”

    More about this expert

  • 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.”

    More about this expert

  • Jack Skendzel, M.D.

    “An active lifestyle requires superior physical function, and I understand that my patients have exceptionally high standards for their performance and joint health. My goal is to return patients to optimal function so that they can continue to perform and master their personal athletic goals.”

    More about this expert

  • James Gannon MD

    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.”

    More about this expert

  • Jeffrey Furmanek DO

    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 part of this natural process.”

    More about this expert

  • Jerome Perra MD

    Jerome Perra, M.D.

    “My goal is always to return the patient to his or her highest level of function, and to individualize post-operative
    and rehabilitation expectations.”

    More about this expert

  • Jonathan Biebl, M.D.

    “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
    diagnosis and treatment plan.”

    More about this expert

  • Kirk Scofield MD
  • 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.”

    More about this expert

  • Peter Daly, M.D.

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

    More about this expert

Also see...