Having persistent knee pain can be more than just frustrating – it can affect your happiness and quality of life. Waking up every day and not being able to do the things you want to do can take its toll on anyone, sometimes with lasting physical and emotional effects.
In the past, surgical procedures were often seen as the sole form of treatment for knee injuries. But with advancements in research and technology, there are many options your doctor may consider to help reduce or eliminate your knee pain altogether.
Here are five reasons you shouldn’t have to live with knee pain. Schedule an appointment with your physician to discuss what’s right for you.
- Physical Therapy
Meniscus injuries can often be managed by controlling the pain and swelling, as well as possibly working with a physical therapist to restore full knee strength and mobility. Your therapist or physician may recommend ice and compression and provide you with a special at-home exercise regime, or may use a treatment called neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) to help improve your strength. Medications like aspirin and ibuprofen may also be recommended to reduce pain and swelling.
The two most common injections that can be helpful in reducing inflammation within the joint are cortisone injections and hyaluronic acid – originally derived from the combs of roosters – which can lubricate the knee joints and provide short-term relief. While injections temporarily reduce pain, they will not help heal the meniscus tear.
- Stem-Cell Therapy
Researchers have recently been evaluating stem-cell therapies that may help heal the injured tissue. During treatment, stem cells from your own body or another source are injected into the injured knee area, where they grow, differentiate and assist with the healing of the meniscus. Keep in mind that while this type of therapy is promising, it is relatively new and is still considered experimental in some countries. It is unknown if this will be a long-term cure or how long the effects will last.
- Knee Surgery
If an injury is severe or if symptoms persist after nonsurgical treatment, many turn to surgery. There are several different procedures that are performed depending on your personal diagnosis, ranging from a partial meniscectomy to treat a meniscal tear to a total knee replacement to reduce arthritis joint pain and restore function in the knee.
- NUsurface Meniscus Replacement
If you are suffering from knee pain following meniscus surgery or are without viable treatment options, the NUsurface® is a meniscus replacement prosthesis that may provide an alternative option, once approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. NUsurface is designed to mimic the function of the natural meniscus and redistribute loads transmitted across the knee joint. The device is made from medical grade plastic and, as a result of its unique materials, composite structure and design, does not require fixation to bone or soft tissues. NUsurface has the potential to address the treatment gap of those suffering from meniscus deficiency and deterioration who are too old for meniscus repair and too young for total knee arthroplasty. U.S. clinical trials completed enrollment in June 2018, and the company is expecting to file for approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration within the next two years.