If you’re searching the web for the best treatment for knee pain, chances are that your knee pain is persistent and frustrating.
Knee pain is one of the most common injuries in the developed world.
It’s also an injury that our team has decades of experience with!
So here’s our most effective methods of reducing or resolving chronic knee pain.
Step-by-step approach to chronic knee pain
First off, you should establish a diagnosis to better understand certain aspects of your injury.
This includes activities or actions that may bother it and why it may be slow to recover.
If you haven’t seen your local health professional or you’d like a second opinion, our team is creating a super helpful app for iOS or Android.
The injury app can diagnose injury accurately and even gives hints for rehab approaches.
Best of all, it’s free and all with the convenience of never having to leave the couch.
Even before you’ve established your diagnosis, you can begin to formulate your rehab plan.
Once you know what’s causing all the trouble, you can design an approach focused on pain management and increased control of the knee.
Here’s our Physiotherapy team’s options for the best treatment for knee pain.
Best treatment for knee pain – natural remedies
One of the more common requests from patients is to treat their knee pain while avoiding medication.
They want the best treatment for knee pain but they also want to avoid potential medication side effects, even if it takes a little longer.
Whatever your reason, here’s our options for the best treatment for knee pain without medication.
The original and still the best.
Strength exercises boast even better results than surgery!!!
With the right exercises, you should notice less pain within a week or two.
Strength work has the greatest long term benefit, slowing the degeneration of the knee.
Any exercises shouldn’t be painful, although you may be aware of pressure on the injured area during the exercise.
Over time, these won’t be challenging enough and you’ll need to purchase some weights.
Look for online discount gym suppliers for cost-effective options.
If you’re in Australia, we highly recommend these guys for fast delivery and great prices (we use them for our clinic supplies).
Avoid exercises that cause worsening pain, sharp pain or pain that affects your technique.
Good shoes will support the normal motion of the knee and help control it as your muscles fatigue.
With the right shoes, the effect is almost instant!
You’ll notice less knee pain after your first walk and a huge improvement within a week.
To find the right shoes, here’s a guide on the best shoes for bad knees from our Physiotherapy team.
The guide has specific shoe options for different circumstances so check it out.
Our next natural option on for the best treatment for knee pain is as simple as it gets.
Common examples are walking, cycling or rowing.
Pick a form of general exercise which is enjoyable for you, accessible and can be done regularly.
These exercises provide gentle repetitive movement and improve joint cartilage and mobility.
It may seem a little counterintuitive, as walking may cause pain, but it’s a necessary ingredient for good knee health.
Reduce the duration and intensity of this exercise if it causes worsening soreness or swelling during or after exercise.
This refers to a tight, compressive brace or bandage.
Compression can do something that meds can’t – it can reduce existing swelling such as a Baker’s Cyst.
Meds can only help prevent new swelling being produced but don’t work on existing swelling.
When you’re selecting a brace, find one which has as little “sprinkles on top” as possible.
Unless it’s been recommended by your health professional, you don’t need side struts or hinges.
Velcro straps can be useful though, as they maintain the tension and avoid it moving around with use.
If you’re in Australia, here are some options for active people to maintain compression and reduce pain.
Make sure you get the size right – if you’re on the border between two sizes, always go down to the smaller size.
Correct firmness is being able to squeeze two fingers inside the compression.
Any looser and it won’t be effective.
Any tighter and it’ll become uncomfortable and slide down.
Nature’s pain killer and number 4 on the Best Treatment for Knee Pain’s natural remedies.
Ice has a mild anti inflammatory effect on swelling (although this is debatable based on recent research) and an analgesic effect on pain.
Apply the ice pack for 10min every 2 hours for best effect (don’t exceed 15min otherwise the body begins to rewarm itself and actually gets hotter under the ice pack!)
If you wanted to see if ice, heat or meds are your best option, see our post comparing the benefits of each here.
You can apply ice to the front of the knee to effectively chill the fluid inside the knee, regardless of the location of the pain or injury.
The front of the knee offers the greatest exposure to the joint fluid and gets the best overall effect.
Best treatment for knee pain – medication options
Firstly, a disclaimer – don’t take medication advice from the web!!!
We’re looking to inform you of the options out there but obviously can’t say what’s appropriate and safe for you personally.
Always chat to your Pharmacist and/or Doctor about any medication and if it’s a fit for your situation.
Now, back to the advice on the best treatment for knee pain…
There’s nothing wrong with medication – it’s one of the most popular approaches to chronic knee pain.
Any drug on the market has been extensively tested for safety and efficacy by people smarter than us.
Some people prefer to avoid them based on their preferred philosophy, and that’s fine.
For anyone who is OK with pharmaceuticals, they can provide quick and effective relief.
Here are the options for medication as the best treatment for knee pain.
Most popular trade name is Panadol but it has literally 1000s of other brand names.
It’s a mild analgesic with a very small anti-inflammatory effect.
Paracetamol is quite safe with very few side effects and it can provide enough relief to help people get active.
It’s not the most powerful drug but it’s enough for most, so it makes it to number 1 on our Best Treatment for Knee Pain list.
Ibuprofen or Diclofenac
The most popular trade names for this group are Nurofen (Ibuprofen), Advil (Ibuprofen) and Voltaren (Diclofenac).
They’re anti-inflammatory medication with some analgesic effect.
That means that unlike Paracetamol, they’ll actually reduce the accumulation of swelling in the knee.
But they have a number of common side effects including gut issues, particularly with prolonged use of more than two weeks.
But as a quick hit to reduce a flare up, they’re probably the best treatment for knee pain in the medication category.
Meloxicam or Celecoxib
The regulations differ around the world but in most countries, this group of meds are available via Doctor’s prescription only.
They’re a slow release anti-inflammatory medication that can be used for a prolonged period of greater than one month.
Much like the previous group, these meds reduce the accumulation of fluid in the knee.
This type of medication has a reduced side effect profile due to its slow release delivery.
They’re one of the most popular ways of managing chronic, long term knee pain.
For a balance between effectiveness and side effects, they’re probably the best treatment for knee pain in the medication category.
If we were to use a boxing analogy, these guys are the undisputed heavyweights of the medication group.
Steroids are very strong anti-inflammatories (very different to the steroids that build muscle popularised by Ben Johnson in that Olympic race).
They have an extensive side effect profile and require ongoing monitoring from your doctor.
Despite being very effective at treating inflammation, prolonged use is actively avoided due to the significance of the long term negative effects of use (such as an effect on bone density and skin).
These tend not to be a first line of defence against knee pain, but more of a last resort if nothing else is helping.
Super effective but with plenty of side effects, these are the last option for good reason on our medication list of Best Treatment for Knee Pain.
Disclaimer for Best Treatment for Knee Pain
**Special note: this article has Physiotherapist-recommended products with affiliate links to trusted vendors, selected for their fast & reliable service and great prices. The article was written prior to sourcing the affiliate links and the links in no way influence our recommendations.