The majority of knee injuries get better without the need for any surgical intervention. Knee knocks and strains usually require initial treatment with ‘RICE' – rest, icing, compression and elevation, followed by a gentle return to activity. Often initial pain and discomfort can be managed with simple pain killers such as paracetamol and an anti-inflammatory e.g. ibuprofen. It is common for even simple strains and bruises to take several weeks to settle. Inability to bear weight, locking or joint instability are concerning symptoms and further opinion from doctor or sports physiotherapists should be sought.
Occasionally knee braces may be helpful to either hold the knee in a resting position or to help provide stability to the joint as it moves. There are a number of braces on the market that can help provide stability following ligament or tendon injuries – these often require expert fitting and advice should be sought prior to their purchase.
Exercise and physical therapy often helps to rehabilitate the joint and restore power.
Damaged hips and knees often stiffen and weaken as a direct result of under activity. Exercise programmes and physiotherapy can help to restore function through non-surgical means. Personalized exercise and rehabilitation regimes can be developed with the help of our sports and exercise physicians and physiotherapy team.
In addition to physical exercise regimens, out specialist physiotherapists can provide deep tissue massage, ultrasound therapy, muscle stimulators and other techniques to help speed recovery.
Early and moderate hip and knee arthritis symptoms can usually be managed without surgery. A number of strategies can be used to reduce pain, improve function and extend the life of the arthritic joint.
As the symptoms of arthritis become more intrusive it is often necessary to alter activities and lifestyle to help avoid or delay progression of the disease.
Weight loss can significantly improve symptoms of pain and instability as the forces, and ‘wear and tear’ passing through the joint are dramatically reduced.
Higher impact exercises requiring running, twisting and jumping should generally be avoided as they tend to precipitate painful episodes. Lower impact exercises such as cycling, swimming and using a cross-trainer help maintain muscle strength, range of movement and cardiovascular fitness without causing as much irritation within the joint.
Many support devices are available to help manage the symptoms of arthritis. The correct use of a walking stick or cane can greatly reduce the force passing through the arthritic joint and improve pain, stability and walking distance.
For certain types of knee arthritis, when isolated to one part of the joint, off-loading knee braces can be effective in stabilising the joint and in helping to move force away from the injured area. As with other types of complex knee braces these devices are expensive and require expert fitting to ensure they are positioned correctly.