When it comes to treating osteoarthritis of the knee, treatment generally depends on the severity of the condition, as well as other factors unique to the individual, such as his/her age, physical condition, activity level, pain threshold and overall health.
Treatment should address a variety of factors, including acute pain and inflammation, joint protection, and maintaining or improving the range of motion and strength of the joint.The best treatment often involves a combination of RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation), range of motion (stretching) and strengthening exercises, and joint protection strategies such as splinting, taping, strapping or bracing. Medication may also be an integral part of knee osteoarthritis treatment and patient education is the key to providing patients with the information needed to avoid further joint damage.
Although ongoing or advanced treatment of knee osteoarthritis will depend on a number of factors, general guidelines for treating knee arthritis at the onset of symptoms typically begin with the RICE method, and other simple steps that an individual can do on his or her own. These include:
The RICE method can help to reduce swelling, pain and inflammation, but it is just one step in the process of treating arthritis of the knee. It is important to note that resting should not be confused with the tendency to not use the joint at all. Although a short period of rest may be necessary in handling pain and inflammation, and certain motions should be avoided during arthritis flare-ups, it is best to continue to move the joint as much as possible. Range of motion (stretching) and strengthening exercises will help avoid any further loss of motion and are critical to maintaining joint function.