Surgery of any kind should never be a first option, and knee surgery is no exception. Knee surgeons will not perform any procedure without first making sure that initial treatments have been tried. Surgery is extremely invasive and recovery can be long and painful. This is not to say that it should never be considered; however, there are alternative treatments that you may want to try first.
Alternative Treatments Include:
> Exercise and Weight Loss:
Oftentimes, this is enough to alleviate knee pain and discomfort. Each pound lost equals 4,800 pounds less that your knees have to bear, per each mile that you walk. Losing even 15 pounds can greatly relieve the stress on your knees and joints.
> Physical Therapy:
A physical therapist can devise a program that suits your needs. This type of treatment can include hot/cold compresses; specific exercises that help strengthen the muscles and joints, and other treatments that help increase blood flow and circulation.
This is an ancient Chinese method that uses sharp, thin needles to help bring balance and energy back to the body. Certain studies have shown a dramatic decrease in knee pain for some individuals.
This is a dextrose solution that gets injected directly into the joint or tendon. This increases the blood flow and supplies important nutrients. This treatment stimulates the tissue so that it can heal itself. Typically, it takes between four and six injections for this to be fully effective.
> Arthroscopic Surgery:
This is much less invasive than traditional surgery and involves removing bone fragments and repairing tendons as needed. Recovery time is much less than with traditional surgery; oftentimes, you are back on your feet within a couple of weeks.
> Stem Cells:
This procedure is still in the early stages. The procedure uses stem cells from the hip to help regenerate knee cartilage.
> Hyaluronic Acid Injections:
These injections help to lubricate the knee and also act as a shock absorber. This can greatly improve mobility and aid in reducing pain and discomfort. This procedure may not be an option for those who have an allergy to poultry or eggs.
> Medication or Cortisone Shots:
Types of medication include over-the-counter pain relievers and topical creams. Your doctor may also recommend treatments such as cortisone shots or steroid injections. These can help reduce pain for several weeks at a time.
These alternative treatments can be used alone or in combination with one another to help you deal with knee pain and discomfort. Depending on the severity of your pain, and the ultimate cause (injury, disease, repetitive movement, etc.), your doctor may eventually recommend that you explore the idea of surgery.
Your doctor will recommend a reputable surgeon and may give you more than one name. It is imperative that you make an appointment to meet with at least one in order to gain an understanding of what is involved with surgery, including recovery time and any physical rehabilitation programs that will be needed.
Knee surgeons can help improve your overall quality of life and reduce pain, inflammation and discomfort. Remember, only you and your doctor can decide when and if the time is right for surgery.