New Treatments for Osteoarthritis of the Knee

As medicine advances, more new treatments for osteoarthritis of the knee become available each day. While some of these treatments are still in the research and development phases, there are currently many excellent options available for managing knee osteoarthritis. 

What is osteoarthritis of the knee?

The tough, rubbery cartilage in joints is called articular cartilage. It sits at the ends of bones, acting as a shock absorber that allows you to bend and move. This cartilage can wear out due to daily activities like walking, exercising, or playing sports. Sometimes an injury or genetic condition can also cause degradation of articular cartilage.  

Medical illustration of the destruction of articular cartilage of the knee leading to osteoarthritis.

When the cartilage that serves to cushion and protect your joints breaks down, the bones of that joint can begin to rub together in a condition called osteoarthritis. This is especially common in the knees, and it causes symptoms like knee pain, stiffness, and swelling.

While there is no cure for this condition, new treatments for osteoarthritis of the knee are continually being developed. These treatments are designed to help to slow its progress and lessen its symptoms. 

Living With Osteoarthritis of the Knee

According to Cleveland Clinic, 46 percent of people have some degree of osteoarthritis of the knee during their lives. It’s more common in women than men and generally affects those over 40. Those who are overweight or have crooked bones or joints are more likely to get osteoarthritis of the knee

The most common symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee are pain, stiffness, and swelling of the knee joint. Your knee may crack, make a grinding noise, or lock up when you try to move it. These symptoms can make it difficult to maintain preferred activity levels or perform normal activities like walking or going up and down stairs. Over time, the joint can change shape, leading to a feeling of knee instability

Home Treatments for Knee Arthritis

Try the following nonsurgical methods for treating osteoarthritis of the knee:

An orthopedic knee specialist administering an injection—a new treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee.
  • Take over-the-counter or prescription pain or anti-inflammatory medications as directed
  • Perform orthopedic and sports physical therapy exercises for osteoarthritis of the knee
  • Wear a knee brace
  • Use orthotic insoles
  • Try corticosteroid injections, platelet-rich plasma, or viscosupplementation (AKA gel shots, an injection of hyaluronate to enhance the synovial fluid’s lubrication of the joint to reduce pain and increase mobility)

Surgery for Knee Arthritis

If at-home treatments for osteoarthritis aren’t sufficient for managing your symptoms, your orthopedic knee surgeon will talk with you about several common surgical procedures used for osteoarthritis of the knee, such as:

New Treatments for Osteoarthritis of the Knee

New treatments for osteoarthritis of the knee are being investigated and developed every day. University of New Mexico researchers have had success in the early stages of studying the use of injecting a patient’s fat cells into their arthritic knees

The University of California is conducting a clinical trial evaluating the use of a stem-cell-derived treatment for knee osteoarthritis

A UK charity called Versus Arthritis recently funded research that led to the development of a treatment called Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation, in which a small cell sample is removed from a patient and used to grow cartilage in a lab. Those new cartilage cells are then returned to the damaged joint to form new cartilage, thereby alleviating symptoms. 

A hiker sitting on a rock squeezing her knee, which is in pain due to osteoarthritis of the knee.

A study in mice published in Science Translational Medicine used epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) to slow cartilage degeneration and lessen knee pain. 

More research is needed to investigate and validate these studies, but it is certain that new treatments for osteoarthritis of the knee are on their way.    

One option available as of April 2023 is the recently FDA-authorized implantable shock absorber called the MISHA knee system. It’s currently being used to treat mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis, decreasing pain and increasing joint mobility. 

Preventing Knee Osteoarthritis

You may not be able to prevent knee osteoarthritis entirely, but you can take certain precautions to help reduce the chances of it developing. These include:

  • Minimizing repetitive impacts to the knee joint, i.e., running on soft surfaces like grass
  • Varying your exercise routine to include low-impact activities like swimming or riding a bike
  • Using strength training to support muscular strength in and around your knee joint
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Not smoking
  • Getting adequate rest
  • Wearing proper protective gear, such as knee pads or braces 

If you have knee pain or would like to speak with an orthopedic knee specialist regarding new treatments for osteoarthritis of the knee, please contact us or comment below. 

2 Comments


i would like to learn more about treatments for knees that don’t require surgery. i saw an ad in the Holladay newspaper a while ago that talked about non-surgical treatments for knee pain. Thank you, Jeremy Meier 435-671-8025

Reply

    Hi Jeremy,
    Thank you for reaching out! Non-surgical treatments for knee pain may include physical therapy, pain medications, injections (such as corticosteroids or hyaluronic acid), and lifestyle modifications. Our Salt Lake Office may be closest to your location. Please call us at 435-615-8822 and schedule an appointment with one of our knee specialists, we would be happy to find a treatment that’s right for your condition.

    Reply

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