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Non-Surgical Treatments for Bone-on-bone Knees

When it comes to bone-on-bone knees or osteoarthritis, it's important to understand that there is currently no known cure for this condition. While surgery is an option, it's crucial to note that it cannot guarantee eliminating symptoms. Even after surgery, individuals may still experience residual pain, stiffness, and limitations due to the underlying condition.

Setting realistic expectations when considering surgical interventions for bone-on-bone knees is essential.

When the cartilage in the knee joint wears away, it can result in bone-on-bone contact, leading to discomfort, inflammation, and reduced mobility. While surgery may be necessary in some cases, exploring non-surgical knee treatment options is essential before considering more invasive procedures.

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections

PRP injections have gained popularity recently as a non-surgical treatment option for various orthopedic conditions, including bone-on-bone knees. This procedure involves extracting a small amount of the patient's blood, processing it to concentrate the platelets, growth factors, and other healing components, and injecting it directly into the affected knee joint. PRP injections can promote tissue regeneration, reduce inflammation, and alleviate pain.

Joint Fluid Therapy

Also known as viscosupplementation, joint fluid therapy involves injecting hyaluronic acid into the knee joint. Hyaluronic acid acts as a lubricant and shock absorber, improving joint function and reducing pain. It can help supplement the natural synovial fluid, which may be depleted in bone-on-bone knees. This treatment can fix knee pain without surgery; several injections may be required over a few weeks.


Glucosamine and chondroitin are natural compounds found in cartilage. They are commonly available as supplements and are believed to support joint health. While research on their efficacy is mixed, many individuals with bone-on-bone knees report experiencing reduced pain and improved mobility when taking these supplements regularly. It's essential to consult with a healthcare professional for appropriate dosage and ensure it doesn't interact with existing medications.

Pain Management Techniques

Managing pain is a crucial aspect of treating bone-on-bone knees without surgery. Various pain management strategies can help alleviate discomfort and enhance quality of life. These may include:

Physical therapy

Physical therapy can play a significant role in helping individuals avoid knee surgery or delay it for as long as possible. A trained therapist can guide you through exercises and stretches to strengthen the surrounding muscles, improve joint stability, and relieve pain. They can utilize various techniques such as manual therapy, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, and therapeutic exercises to reduce pain and inflammation in the knee joint.

Weight management

This is the best option to avoid knee replacement naturally. Excess weight puts additional stress on the knee joints, accelerating cartilage degeneration. Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the stress on your knee joints and reduce inflammation, potentially slowing down the progression of bone-on-bone contact.

Low-impact exercises

Engaging in activities such as swimming, cycling, or using an elliptical machine can provide cardiovascular benefits without exerting excessive pressure on the knee joints.

Assistive Devices

Using assistive devices can provide support and reduce strain on the knees. Knee braces or sleeves can help stabilize the joint, while canes or walkers can assist with mobility, offloading weight from the knees. Orthopedic specialists can recommend the most suitable devices based on your specific needs.

Managing Symptoms to Avoid Knee Surgery

Dealing with the symptoms of knee arthritis can be quite a challenge, primarily because the effectiveness of treatments can vary significantly from person to person. It can be disheartening when one treatment doesn't yield the desired results, but that doesn't mean you should lose hope. The beauty of managing knee arthritis lies in the diversity of available treatments, as what may not work for someone else might be the key to alleviating your symptoms.

Keep in mind that what works for one individual may not work for another, and that's perfectly normal. Each person's body is unique, and their response to treatment can vary.

While focusing on specific knee treatments, it's equally important not to neglect the overall health of your body and bones. Engaging in regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can significantly contribute to the effectiveness of your knee arthritis management plan. Strengthening the muscles around the knee joint and ensuring adequate nutrition are essential steps to support joint health and minimize pain.


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