What to do for knee pain?

Here’s a little figure I made to outline some of the most commonly-used treatments for one pain, specifically knee osteoarthritis (OA).  An absolute myriad of options! As the patient, how do you know where to start, who to go to and who to believe.  As a discerning healthcare professional, are you aware of which have a robust evidence base?treatments for knee pain

Evidence is king

This means scientific evidence, obtained following quality randomised controlled trials, not a from an anecdote from your mate Bob’s sister 😉 Unfortunately, many of the ‘treatments’ offered over the internet and peddled on Facebook have not been scientifically scrutinised, but they do look convincing with all the testimonials from people who miraculously “got better”, “could run again”, whose “pain was cured” Beware of these things! Magnetic bracelets, homeopathic ‘remedies’ miracle pills and spectacular shoes to name a few. In each case search for the scientific and published evidence before you part with your cash.

What works for knee osteoarthritis?

In the next few weeks I’ll be looking at the evidence for each of the categories in the figure above, what works, what doesn’t and what aren’t we sure about yet.

What to do now?

Keep moving. If you’ve been diagnosed with knee OA exercise is definitely beneficial in almost all cases. Yes it may be uncomfortable, but as you become less active, your muscles decondition and the pain in your knee and its function gets worse. As a healthcare professional, don’t be afraid of loading patients, well their musculature! There are many ways in which heavy resistance exercise can be adapted to mitigate pain, whilst still maintaining a strength focus.

From the age of about 50 years, we can lose muscle mass and strength by between 1-5% per year, unless we do something about it. There’s a call to action if ever I heard one!