If you regularly suffer from knee joint inflammation problems, then the chances are you find yourself searching for a treatment solution that goes a little further than the typical RICE method. While rest, ice, elevation, and regular compression with your knee compression garment can help to bring down the discomfort of knee joint inflammation, there are also plenty of other treatments to consider.
Following, we'll consider some of the basic solutions your doctor might suggest for knee inflammation - besides RICE.
Diet and Exercise
Although diet and exercise might not seem to have a direct connection to knee pain and inflammation, you might be surprised to learn that your nutrition and activity levels have a direct impact on your joint comfort.
Just as some foods are identified as "anti-inflammatory" and can help to reduce swelling or prevent some of the initial problems that lead to inflammation - others irritate and complicate existing problems - leading to greater discomfort. In the same way, regular exercise can sometimes seem to aggravate knee problems, but low-impact solutions can help to manage your weight and provide extra strength to the joint.
A good diet and exercise approach to treating knee joint inflammation should focus on banishing inflammatory foods like sugar from your meals and engaging in range-of-motion, or flexibility workouts regularly. Remember to avoid weight-bearing exercises that may overload the joints.
If diet, exercise, and your knee compression garment aren't giving you the results that you need, then you could always consider joint aspiration or arthrocentesis. When a patient suffers from a swollen knee, most doctors will need to rule out certain diagnoses by analyzing the fluid that accumulates around the joint. To do this, they will need to remove the fluid from the bursa using a syringe and needle. This process is known as joint aspiration.
Following arthrocentesis, your doctor will consider the viscosity and color of the fluid in your knee, and may also send it to a lab for analysis. This could help them to pinpoint infection or the presence of uric acid in the fluid which indicates the onset of gout.
Medications can also be used to help reduce knee joint inflammation. Most commonly, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs can be used to reduce inflammation and pain in the knee. These medications are useful because they reduce the chemical signals in the knee that lead to inflammation and pain. Though Advil and Motrin (NSAID types) are often available over the counter, you should only use them with the supervision and guidance of a doctor.
In severe cases of knee joint inflammation, your doctor may even recommend that you consider taking a corticosteroid drug. This can involve injections into the area around the knee joint. Corticosteroids are a form of strong anti-inflammatory medication that can reduce swelling. Usually, only a maximum of three injections can be given each year if you want to avoid unwanted side effects. Your doctor will typically only give you this form of treatment as a last resort.