Knee osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease affecting the knee joint. It is a chronic condition that occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the bones in the knee joint gradually wears away, causing the bones to rub against each other. It can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in the Knee joint, making it difficult to move and perform daily activities.

Several factors, including ageing, genetics, joint injury, obesity, and overuse, can cause knee osteoarthritis. Knee osteoarthritis symptoms can vary from person to person but typically include pain and stiffness in the knee joint, swelling, and a decreased range of motion.

Several treatment options are available for osteoarthritis of the Knee, including medication, exercises to strengthen the lower back, physical therapy, weight loss, and surgery. The goal of knee osteoarthritis treatments is to reduce pain and improve function, allowing individuals to continue to perform their daily activities with less difficulty. 

So, without further ado, let’s discuss the in-depth concepts of the effective treatment for pain management for knee osteoarthritis in the section below.

Non-Pharmacological Treatments for Pain Relief

  • Exercise and Physical Therapy

Exercises for back pain and physical therapy can help reduce pain and stiffness associated with knee osteoarthritis. 

Examples of back-strengthening exercises that can help include hamstring stretches, quadriceps stretches, calf stretches, hip flexor stretches, range-of-motion exercises, strengthening exercises, and aerobic exercises. Occupational therapy can also be beneficial. 

Additionally, using a warm compress or hot water bottle on the affected area can help relieve knee joint pain and stiffness.

  • Weight Loss

By losing weight, a person can reduce the amount of pressure on their joints, which can help to alleviate pain and discomfort. Studies have shown that losing just 10% of body weight can relieve knee joint pain by up to 50%. Additionally, weight loss can help to improve mobility, flexibility, and overall joint function.

  • Assistive Devices

The assistive devices can alleviate pain and discomfort associated with knee osteoarthritis by providing support and reducing pressure on the affected joint. These devices may include:

  1. Knee braces can help stabilise the Knee and reduce pain by absorbing shock and redistributing weight.
  2. Orthotics can help correct alignment and reduce pressure on the joint
  3. Canes or crutches reduce weight-bearing on the affected Knee. 

Other devices, such as shoe inserts, compression sleeves, and hot or cold therapy devices, may also help manage pain and improve mobility in individuals with knee osteoarthritis.

  • Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an effective non-surgical knee treatment practice that involves inserting fine needles into specific points in the body to relieve pain and promote healing. For knee osteoarthritis, acupuncture may help reduce pain and inflammation by stimulating the release of natural pain-relieving chemicals, such as endorphins and serotonin. Acupuncture also helps improve joint function and mobility by increasing blood flow to the affected area and reducing muscle tension.

Pharmacological Treatments for Pain Relief

  • Analgesics

Analgesics are medications used to relieve pain. They are commonly used to treat pain associated with osteoarthritis of the Knee. Commonly used analgesics for knee osteoarthritis include paracetamol, ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, diclofenac gel, and acetaminophen.

  • Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

Medications such as NSAIDs commonly help relieve pain caused by knee osteoarthritis. NSAIDs work by reducing inflammation and pain-causing chemicals in the body. Commonly used NSAIDs for osteoarthritis of the Knee include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB), naproxen sodium (Aleve), celecoxib (Celebrex), diflunisal, etodolac, fenoprofen (Nalfon), flurbiprofen, indomethacin (Indocin), ketoprofen, and ketorolac.

  • Topical Analgesics

Topical analgesics are medications applied directly to the skin to relieve pain. They are commonly used to treat knee osteoarthritis, as they can provide immediate and long-term relief from pain. 

Examples of topical analgesics used for knee osteoarthritis include capsaicin (Capzasin, Zostrix, Icy Hot), diclofenac sodium 2% liquid (Pennsaid), and specialised options. 

These medications work by depleting nerve cells of a chemical important for sending pain messages or reducing inflammation in the affected area.

  • Intra-Articular Injections

Intra-articular injections are one of the treatments for osteoarthritis of the knee, which involves injecting medication directly into the affected joint. These injections can provide significant knee joint pain relief and improve joint function. Examples of intra-articular injections used for knee osteoarthritis include corticosteroids (such as triamcinolone and methylprednisolone), hyaluronic acid (such as Euflexxa, Hyalgan, and Synvisc), and platelet-rich plasma (PRP).

Surgical Treatments for Pain Relief

  • Arthroscopy

The arthroscopic surgery involves making a small incision and inserting a long, thin tool with a camera on end to view the inside of the Knee. The surgeon can then use the camera to identify issues and perform necessary repairs. It can help relieve knee joint pain and improve mobility by removing any pieces of bone floating in the Knee joint and restricting function.

  • Osteotomy

Osteotomy surgery is a procedure that can help to alleviate pain associated with osteoarthritis of the Knee by realigning the bones of the knee joint. The surgeon makes an incision in the knee during the procedure to remove a wedge of bone from the top of the shinbone or the bottom of the thigh bone, depending on the location of the arthritis. 

It will help shift the weight-bearing load away from the damaged part of the knee joint, thereby reducing pain and improving function. The removed wedge of bone is then held with metal plates or screws until it has healed. 

  • Joint Replacement Surgery

Arthroplasty or joint replacement surgery is one of the alternative knee osteoarthritis treatments that help alleviate pain associated with knee osteoarthritis by replacing the damaged joint with a prosthetic implant. The surgeon makes incisions in the knee to remove the damaged joint surfaces during the procedure. 

The prosthetic implant is then placed into the joint and secured with cement or other materials. The implant is designed to mimic the joint’s natural movement, allowing the patient to regain mobility and function.


In conclusion, effective knee joint pain relief treatments are available and can greatly improve the quality of life for those suffering from this condition. Early intervention and ongoing management are key to achieving the best results. 

It allows for implementing a comprehensive treatment plan that includes a combination of medication, lower back exercises, and lifestyle changes. With the right approach, it is possible to manage the symptoms of Osteoarthritis of the Knee and maintain an active, healthy lifestyle.

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