Treating Osteoarthritis

Currently there are no proven treatments that can halt cartilage damage or repair damaged cartilage. The focus for osteoarthritis treatment is on reduction of pain, stiffness and swelling as well as patient education that can improve quality of life. 

Conservative measures that may reduce symptoms 

  • Rest
  • Exercise; especially swimming, walking and stationary cycling
  • Applying heat before and cold packs after exercise
  • Weight reduction
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Mechanical support devices

Pharmacological treatment options

  • Oral pain medication
  • Pain relieving creams
  • Cortisone joint injections
  • Hyaluronic acid joint injections

Surgical treatment options

  • Arthroscopy (to repair cartilage)
  • Osteotomy (bone removal)
  • Total joint replacement

Therapeutic options in osteoarthritis

Non-pharmacological treatment

Education (patient and family)
Social support
Physiotherapy (physical therapy)
Occupational therapy
Weight loss
Exercise
Orthotic devises
Ultrasound
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
Acupuncture
Nutrients
Herbal remedies
Vitamins/minerals

Pharmacological treatment

Paracetamol/Acetaminophen
NSAIDS (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) [plus misoprostol, or a PPI for patients at increased GI risk ] 
COX-2 inhibitors (cyclo-oxygenase-2 selective non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
Opioid analgesics
Hormones
Glucosamine sulfate, Chondroitin sulfate
Diacerein
Topical NSAIDS
Topical capsaicin

Intra-articular treatment (injection into joint)

Corticosteroids
Viscosupplements (hyaluronic acid preparations)

Surgical treatment

Arthroscopy
Osteotomy
Joint replacement surgery
Joint fusion