Non-surgical Treatment of the knee

Surgery should only be undertaken if there is a clear and definite indication that symptoms will improve following a procedure.

Chronic knee pain caused by many conditions or injuries will often resolve with time, rest and simple treatment of the symptoms. ‘Chronic’ means that the pain from a condition or injury has been present for months or years but it may have varied in severity during this time.

Some chronic knee conditions or injuries are best treated with non-surgical approaches, at least in the first instance. These approaches can include:

  • Exercises.
  • Bracing of the joint.
  • Medications.
  • Injections into the joint.
  • Weight loss.

If appropriate, Dr Kennedy will discuss non-surgical approaches with you during the consultation.

Exercise

Excessive weight bearing exercise can be harmful to a diseased knee and, until a clear diagnosis is made, the painful knee should be rested. Sometimes, a carefully designed exercise programme, often with the help and supervision of a physiotherapist, can be beneficial.

Non weight-bearing exercise such as swimming, cycling, rowing, etc can be a useful way to maintain fitness without aggravating a painful knee.

Bracing 

Externally applied bracing and splints can be beneficial to a diseased knee. There are many different types used for different conditions. Some are quite expensive, and it is important that a clear diagnosis is made so that an appropriate device is chosen. These are usually best obtained from a qualified orthotist.

Medication

Many types of medication are used for the treatment of diseased knees. Some can be medically prescribed whilst others are available without prescription. Simple non-prescription medication such as paracetamol and ibuprofen are usually safe and effective. Many other non-prescription remedies such as glucosamine and “fish-oil” are without objectively demonstrable benefit.

Prescribed medication can be effective, but they are not without risk of side effects and always need to be considered on an individual basis.

Injections into the knee joint

It is sometimes helpful to inject medications into the knee joint, usually draining excessive fluid from the knee at the same time. Often a synthetic form of the naturally occurring anti-inflammatory cortisone may be used.

Dr Kennedy sometimes recommends the injection of a synthetic type of joint fluid called “Synvisc” for the alleviation of arthritic knee pain.

Stem Cell Treatment

In the absence of credible published supportive evidence, Dr Kennedy does not currently support the administration of stem cell or PRP treatment to the knee joint.