Knee osteoarthritis: Non-drug treatments

Knee: Non-drug treatments

Care for your osteoarthritis is based of course on drug treatment and / or surgical treatment as prescribed by your doctor.

But it has been scientifically proven that you can implement a non-pharmacological treatment yourself, based on a healthy pace of life and a healthy lifestyle. Often regarded as a basis for the treatment of osteoarthritis, it can only improve the effectiveness of treatment prescribed by your doctor.


Your doctor is best placed to advise you on these non-drug treatments and to help you choose those that are most suited to your situation.


Do not try starting some of these treatments on your own. Indeed, their effectiveness depends on your physical condition, which is why you should talk with your doctor beforehand.


These non-drug treatments are based on the following:


(if you are significantly overweight)


Effectively, being overweight is a major risk factor in knee osteoarthritis, but it also participates in the progression of osteoarthritis.


It has been demonstrated that a loss of 5 kg in the previous 10 years, reduces the risk of knee osteoarthritis by 50%. In addition, it has been proven that weight reduction in people with severe obesity greatly reduces pain of the hip.


It is often said that exercise is not recommended when suffering from osteoarthritis. But this idea is false.

Indeed it is not the sport that is harmful, but the type of sport and exercise, and the frequency of these that are involved.


So on the contrary, physical exercise helps maintain joint flexibility and has a beneficial effect on pain and functional impairment. However, you should talk to your doctor to help you choose the type of sport or exercise that is suitable for your condition as well as the frequency of this activity.


There is no shame to using walking aids These can be quite aesthetic nowadays and allow you a marked improvement in your quality of life and your suffering.


Again, you should discuss this with your doctor to determine those that are appropriate to your situation.

So you may need to use shoes or insoles, orthotics and canes. It is very important to note that canes must be held on the opposite side to the painful one.

You can find more information on these walking aids in the Equipment section, or in the Treatments section.


This is paramount in caring for your arthritis and thereby in improving your life. It is vital that you follow-up on your treatment. Even if it does not seem effective immediately, it may take a while to feel the beneficial effects but their effectiveness is guaranteed.


In addition, you should see your doctor regularly to check that your treatment is always suited to your condition and monitor the evolution (if any) of your osteoarthritis.

Your doctor is the person who knows best how to relieve your pain so do not hesitate to talk to him or her about it.


It is true that you must maintain your painful joints by continuing to perform daily movements to maintain their flexibility and muscle tone.

However, you must not overdo it. During painful flare-ups, you have to spare your joints by limiting their use.


Physiotherapy, thanks to its massage and stretching techniques, helps to maintain or improve the scope of your movements, strengthen your muscles and joint stability and generally keep you fit. Your doctor may prescribe sessions if your condition requires them.

Specifically reinforcing the muscle power of the quadriceps (the muscle on the front of the thigh) results in significant and lasting relief in patellofemoral osteoarthritis.


Some alternative therapies or other types of therapies can bring you temporary relief. These include acupuncture, hydrotherapy, electrotherapy, etc. But opinions are still very divided as to their real effectiveness.


During an inflammatory flare-up, i.e. very painful episodes, your joints should be kept at rest. This means for example not putting weight on the affected side with the help of crutches to walk.


But apart from these episodes, it is imperative to get regular physical exercise. Movement is beneficial to the cartilage and allows it to improve its nutrition and stimulate its cells. It is advisable to walk an hour three times a week.