What's the Most Effective Non-Surgical Treatment for Knee Pain?
About 31 million Americans have osteoarthritis (OA) – a painful, degenerative condition that often affects the knees, according to the Arthritis Foundation. In a new meta-analysis looking at non-surgical treatments for OA of the knee, the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) naproxen ranked most effective for reducing pain and improving function. Results of the study were published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
Researchers analyzed 53 clinical trials that involved at least 30 study participants and evaluated knee osteoarthritis treatments for at least 28 days They compared acetaminophen; ibuprofen; intra-articular (IA), or joint, cortisone injections; platelet-rich plasma, hyaluronic acid, several NSAIDs (including naproxen, celecoxib, and diclofenac), and both oral and IA placebos, ranking the treatments from 1 (least effective) to 5 (most effective).
While naproxen was found to be most effective overall, cortisone injections provided the greatest short-term pain relief (4 to 6 weeks). Other treatment options for osteoarthritis include strength training, low-impact aerobic exercises, and weight loss in people with a body mass index (BMI) higher than 25.