Do you get a crunching sound while climbing the stairs? Are you experiencing chronic knee pain and swelling? Do you plan to opt for knee surgery? We can understand how terrible the pain can be and that you want to address it as soon as possible. However, don’t opt for surgery right away without exploring other alternatives. Remember going for a knee replacement is just one of the options available to you. Some people cannot go for knee replacement due to many reasons. Some might be too young for the surgery. A lengthy rehabilitation after the surgery with extended downtime is not feasible for others.
An artificial knee can last only for 15-20 years. After that, the person may require revision surgery. Hence, it is worth exploring several other nonsurgical options under medical guidance to delay the surgery as long as possible. Various knee replacement alternatives can provide lasting relief from knee pain. Here are our five recommendations:
Knee replacement alternatives encompass non-steroidal
anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain relief, regenerative medicine
therapies like platelet-rich plasma (PRP) or stem cell injections, physical
therapy, weight management, and lifestyle adjustments.
Home-based treatment – R.I.C.E. formula
- Rest: Take rest and stop activities that can worsen your knee pain. Use crutches and don’t put excess weight on the knee.
- Ice: Ice therapy can reduce knee pain and swelling. Use cold packs like towels filled with ice cubes for 15-20 minutes every four to six hours. Follow this step within 24-48 hours of injury.
- Compression: Wear an elastic compression bandage to prevent inflammation and swelling.
- Elevation: Keep your leg higher than the heart level while taking rest to reduce swelling. You can even keep your legs on two pillows while sitting on a chair.
Physical therapy can stabilize and support the knee joint. The therapists use stretching and strengthening exercises to increase the blood flow to the affected area. These exercises can strengthen the muscles around the knees and provide relief from pain and stiffness. It can also distribute the weight evenly around the knee.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Administration of NSAIDs can reduce both pain and inflammation. However, you cannot continue them for a long duration. You may experience side effects, including heart, gastrointestinal, and kidney problems.
Corticosteroids or hyaluronic acid injections
The physician may recommend corticosteroids or hyaluronic acid injections to reduce pain and enhance mobility. However, the effect will be only for a short duration. Prolonged administration, especially for elders, may cause potential side effects. Corticosteroids may deteriorate the injection region and the surrounding areas and make them more prone to rupture in the case of ligaments.
Regenerative medicine is a minimally invasive method that helps to manage the associated symptoms and provide pain relief. Unlike NSAIDs, corticosteroids or hyaluronic acid injections, Regenerative therapy can help biologically heal the underlying cause of pain and not just mask its symptoms. This daycare procedure can rebuild the affected cells and regenerate them naturally. Regenerative therapy includes platelets rich plasma (PRP) therapy and cellular therapies, and as it involves your own blood plasma and cells for treatment, you won’t experience any significant side effects. It has more than 30 healing proteins enabling pain relief and enhances healing mechanism. This treatment takes only about an hour and a half, where you will be fully conscious as only a local anaesthetic is required. Moreover, you may find significant improvement in symptoms within 1-2 weeks, with further improvements manifesting for up to one year. Regenerative therapy’s timely administration may significantly delay the need for knee replacement and, in some cases, be a natural alternative to knee replacement surgery.
If you would like to know more about regenerative treatment, contact our Medica Stem Cells Clinic. Our medical team of experts, including orthopaedic surgeons, will provide you with comprehensive advice after diagnosing your medical condition and offer the best suitable nonsurgical options if you are a qualified candidate for Regenerative therapy.