Surgery is not inevitable if you have knee arthritis. It is one of the many options you have available but many people choose it too early. This is because they aren’t aware there are any alternatives to knee replacement surgery. Surgery for knee arthritis comes with risks that many want to avoid. The best knee arthritis treatment without surgery includes appropriate exercise therapy, fueling your body with the right food, and changing the way we think about our pain. These options are equally as effective for most people and have the possibility to bring life changing pain relief to those with knee arthritis.
Here are the best options for treatment of arthritis in knee without surgery, let’s discuss these.
Appropriate exercise therapy for knee pain relief
Many times our doctors or rheumatologist might tell us “go exercise”. We then go home, scour Youtube or Google trying to find the best exercises. We then try these exercises, but they hurt. They continue to hurt. We push through because we think it is still good for us. But pain persists. Everyday it becomes easier to skip your exercise because it hurts. Soon enough, you aren’t doing any exercise because you don’t want pain. Does this sound familiar?
I see this time and time again. Know that you aren’t alone.
Knee arthritis pain is usually increased when we have muscle imbalances or improper mechanics. When we try to exercise without addressing these things, we will likely have more pain. For example, squatting is usually a painful movement but helps to build up our leg muscles. If our hips muscles have strength deficits or if our squat form is not correct- our joints will stay mad at us whenever we try to do them.
Appropriate exercise therapy is key.
Using the right movements to help with treatment of your knee arthritis involves looking at other muscles like hips, ankles and low back. It also involves looking at higher level balance. Everything in our body is connected. But many times, when we have knee pain, our knees are the only thing that gets looked at!
Take this example. Callie* was dealing with knee pain for 2 years. She has been diagnosed with knee arthritis for a couple of years but the pain has gotten worse in the past few months. She used to be very active but she had to give up all activities because of pain. Her life became Advil and inactivity. She had tried lots of exercise programs but nothing worked. Scared she was making her knee worse. She has been working with Dr. Alyssa Kuhn and Keep the Adventure Alive for 2 months now and her pain is 90% gone.
So what should you do?
Start with exercise that you like and doesn’t cause significant knee arthritis pain. Whether that is walking, cycling, hiking, swimming, kickboxing– whichever you choose. THEN, make sure you add variety to your movements. You want to make sure you are adding in lateral movements to help your muscles that might be a little weaker than the others! This is most commonly found in the hips- you can start here.
I also HIGHLY recommend starting out using bodyweight suspension straps. SO easy at home and helps you feel much safer, even better- less knee arthritis pain! Watch a video here.
Trying to do it on your own can be frustrating and stressful. We have a proven system that helps your body finally find confidence in movement again. We do this through careful movement selection and progression so you don’t do more damage and you build strength in the right places so you don’t have more pain!
Fueling your body with the right food
Movement isn’t everything. When looking at improving our success with alternatives to knee replacement surgery, we also have to look at what we are putting into our bodies! Arthritis pain that you’re experiencing can be significantly affected by what you eat. In order to take control of treatment of your knee arthritis without surgery, it is important we look at our food choices. Here is a list of the BEST anti-inflammatory foods you should be eating.
Do you eat lots of sugary treats?
Processed sugar or high fructose corn syrup (candy, pastries, cakes, cookies, all the good stuff) can increase inflammation. Think of everything in moderation. If you have a sweet tooth, make it a goal of yours to decrease your intake on 1-2 days, then 3-4, progressing to moderation! It doesn’t have to be cold turkey.
Do you drink soda or other juices regularly?
Drinks other than water can decrease our hydration levels. When we drink a majority of these drinks- we usually don’t drink much water. Lack of hydration can dry our joints out and make them more painful. Think about a sponge. Without water, it is dry, brittle, and doesn’t work well. With water, it is able to do its job much easier!
How’s your fruit and vegetable intake?
Be honest with yourself. Many times, our plates are not filled with enough real foods. Without quality foods, we aren’t getting the minerals and vitamins we need. These vitamins and minerals help feed our cartilage in our knees and helps to keep it strong. When our knee cartilage becomes weak, it becomes irritated and painful. Starting with increasing your intake of at least 1-2 servings a day!
How you should think about your knee arthritis pain
Pain is initially protective. But when we are in pain for a long period of time, our pain becomes over protective. This means our body thinks we are in danger when we are not. Much like a dog barking. First it initially barks at someone who is entering the house when they shouldn’t be. Then they start barking at everyone that walks by- whether they are dangerous or not.
So how do we break this pain pattern? We have to find the right movements that don’t significantly flare up pain. We also have to understand that some discomfort is okay. If we stop at every sign of discomfort, our body continues to think it is in danger. When you are moving, a little bit of pain is okay (2-4/10 on a scale from 1-10). Pain above 7/10 is our joint saying “hey I’m not ready for that right now”. Listen to your body, but not too much.
Movement will not further harm your joint if you do it right! Movement is actually good for our joints and cartilage. But be careful. Overactivity can cause our joints to get a little irritated. We have to find a balance. It has actually been found that not moving, decreasing exercise, and avoiding stressing your knee can actually cause more damage. So, rest is not the way to go with knee arthritis (unless you are in the middle of a pain flare up).
If you want more in-depth information on this topic, I highly recommend you go here.
So what should you do for knee arthritis treatment without surgery?
In order to take advantage of possible alternatives to knee replacement surgery, we have to take a look at all three of these aspects collectively. Each one is just as important as the other and are all vital pieces of the puzzle.
- Find a movement program you can stick to. If you need help, we have an 8 week program that is perfect for beginners with knee arthritis. This program is super affordable and can really create life-changing results and pain relief.
- Fuel your body with the appropriate foods it needs.
- Think about your pain differently. Don’t be afraid of exercise.
Do you want to understand the TOP 3 Myths about knee pain that you have to overcome to keep your adventure alive? Get the FREE ebook below
Disclaimer: This post is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Kuhn and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Move Well Age Well, LLC and Dr. Alyssa Kuhn, PT, DPT are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any conclusions drawn, services or product you obtain through this video or site. This post may contain affiliate links that offer us a small commission with no extra cost to you
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