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Knee Pain Treatments

Our orthopedists see patients with everything from minor knee pain that can be treated with rest and self-care to patients with chronic, serious knee pain that requires a non-surgical or surgical treatment plan. Learn more about knee pain treatment options and when you should seek treatment.

When to Seek Treatment for Knee Pain

Make an appointment right away if your knee pain involves:

  • Significant, deep joint pain
  • Tenderness, redness or swelling that doesn't improve in 48 hours with icing and rest
  • Instability of the joint (a feeling that the knee will give out under normal pressure)
  • Fever
  • Loss of range of motion after the first day or so when some stiffness and swelling may be expected
  • Deformity of the shape of the knee or leg
  • Knee pain in a child: we recommend seeing a pediatrician to rule out Osgood-Schlatter disease, a rare but serious condition

Should You See a Doctor?

Long-term knee pain from arthritis and other causes can often be helped by making certain lifestyle changes. Before prescribing medications that inhibit pain, your doctor may make these recommendations.

  • Losing excess weight: For every 50 pounds of body weight, we put 250 pounds per square inch of pressure on each knee. If you have knee pain, shedding the extra pounds gain is sometimes a game-changer.
  • Doing specific exercises that strengthen the muscles around the joint
  • Trying alternate activities that cause less discomfort and exert less pressure on the joint, such as doubles tennis vs. singles, and swimming or bicycling vs. jogging
  • Taking a Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)  before or after exercise, or as needed for pain
  • Eating a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods like fish, leafy greens and green tea
  • Taking a glucosamine and chondroitin supplement

Don't take knee pain sitting down! When you have pain that does not resolve with self-care, don't wait. Seeking solutions early helps limit joint damage and can lead to better results.

Your primary care physician can provide an initial physical exam and, if recommended, have an X-ray or MRI done of the joint. Memorial Hermann's affiliated orthopedists will customize a solution for your knee pain. Everything you need to optimize your knee joint function is available in one integrated center of care. Schedule an appointment online with a physician today.

What if Both of My Knees Are in Pain?

If you have one arthritic knee that needs to be replaced, chances are the other knee may not be far behind. Many wonder why not get them done at the same time?  Only in rare cases, usually involving severe bilateral injury, do we replace both knees at the same time. Normally, surgeons perform one procedure at a time, with a minimum of three months in between. This minimizes surgical risks and enables physical therapy to be more quickly effective. 

Knee Pain Treatment Options 

Long-term joint pain, no matter the cause, ranges from mildly irritating to a chronic, debilitating condition. There are many proven treatment options that can reduce pain and inflammation and preserve joint function. Here are knee pain recommendations your physician may recommend, depending on your condition:

Knee Replacement Surgery

If nonsurgical knee pain treatment options have failed, you may be a candidate for knee replacement surgery. Take our quiz to see if you are a candidate.