We recommend patients stay active but avoid high-impact activities. Weight loss will decrease the load on the knee. Strengthening and flexibility exercises are encouraged to increase muscular support. A knee sleeve may improve proprioception (ability to sense the position and motion of your own joint) and an arthritis knee brace, or unloader brace, may unload diseased cartilage.
Anti-inflammatory & Nutritional Supplementation
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAID’s) work by decreasing the inflammation in the joint. Over the counter nutritional supplements (Glucosamine & Chondroitin sulfate) are vitamin pills for the knee cartilage, and have proven to be effective for some patients. These supplements are important because there are no nutrients for articular cartilage present in our daily diet.
Careful use of corticosteroid injections (3-4 times per year) can result in a decrease in joint pain, but will not prevent cartilage disease progression. More frequent injections may actually harm the articular cartilage. They are used to treat the symptoms of arthritis and are not recommended for more serious cartilage injuries.
Viscosupplementation (joint lubricants)
Viscosupplementation, or joint lubricants, help to restore the smooth gliding function and improve the biochemical environment of the knee joint. One injection is given per week for three weeks for a total of three injections. Results vary and depend on how much osteoarthritis exists. Success tends to increase with milder forms of arthritis. When improvement that is typical for this type of arthritis does occur, significant relief of symptoms can last for six months or longer.