Not Quite Ready For A Knee Replacement? 3 Treatments To Buy Time

Posted on: 14 April 2021


Although you might need a knee replacement, there can be many reasons to wait before having the procedure, such a health problems or patient preference. In the meantime, your surgeon will recommend conservative treatments to help ease pain and inflammation, while increasing functionality.

Pain Relievers

The most common method of managing moderate to severe knee pain is taking prescription and OTC pain relievers. Your doctor will generally recommend OTC medications first, before taking more powerful prescription options. The best option for pain relief will be NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Since these medications reduce pain by lessening inflammation, they can work well for pain associated by arthritis.

Acetaminophen is another option for people who cannot tolerate NSAIDs, but it is generally considered less effective than NSAIDs. Sometimes combining NSAIDs with acetaminophen can be more powerful than using either alone. Some doctors recommend taking acetaminophen and an NSAID on a rotating schedule since these medications work differently. To minimize stomach issues related to NSAID use, you should consider topical NSAIDs. Although topical NSAIDs can reduce pain shortly after using it, you should use the product for multiple times each day for several days to achieve the best benefits.


Steroids can be administered orally or by injection, but in the case of knee pain, they will typically be administered by injection. One of the major benefits of steroid injections is the benefits may last for several months or longer, depending on the person. When you have a steroid injection, you should expect some decrease in pain shortly after having the injection because the steroid is mixed with a short-acting anesthetic, such as lidocaine. Once the lidocaine wears off in a few hours, you can expect your pain to return to normal. Within the coming days, the steroid should take effect and cause considerable improvement in your knee pain. 


Viscosupplementation, or rooster comb injections, are an injectable form of hyaluronic acid that mimics synovial fluid. The procedure is used to help supplement normal joint lubricant. This treatment is effective because supplementation of lubricant reduces friction that occurs when there is decreased cartilage in the knee. Unlike steroid injections, viscosupplementation requires multiple treatments to be effective. Typically, the injections are administered one at a time, over a span of three to five weeks. There is typically no recovery time after each injection.

Even when knee pain is severe and requires a joint replacement to reduce pain and increase mobility, there can be treatments to buy time. For some people, they can successfully delay surgery for several years with regular use of conservative treatments. Reach out to an orthopedic physician to see what they suggest for your knee.