Living with Knee Arthritis

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Having arthritis in the knee can be a challenge for everyday life, whether that’s managing pain or just getting around. While there’s no permanent treatment for arthritis, it is possible to either control the symptoms or slow its progress, depending on the type you have. We’ve brought together some tips and answered a few common questions on how to treat knee arthritis at home.

Types of knee arthritis

There are many types of arthritis of the knee, but by far the most common is osteoarthritis, followed by rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis can occur as we get older, from around mid-40s onwards, or can sometimes happen as a result of a knee injury or other joint problems.

Arthritis means the cartilage of the joint is thinning and becoming rougher, making the joint muscles and ligaments work harder. More advanced arthritis can mean the cartilage is worn away entirely.

Osteoarthritis usually occurs in joints in the hands, hips, and knees.

Treating Knee Arthritis at Home

While it can’t be completely cured, osteoarthritis in the knee also doesn’t necessarily get worse. The symptoms can usually be controlled through a mixture of lifestyle habits and medication to relieve pain.


Keeping active and exercising your joints is one of the best ways to control the symptoms of arthritis in your knees. A mixture of strengthening exercises and general fitness can help to avoid your knees getting stiff and painful.

It can feel difficult to get started if you already suffer with stiff knees, but exercise should improve things. Exercise is also good for maintaining a healthy wright, or losing weight if needed, which helps to reduce the stress on you knees and other joints.

Always get advice from your doctor or physiotherapist before starting a new exercise programme, as they’ll be able to give you a plan appropriate to you, ensuring you don’t do too much and negate the benefits.

Pain relief

If you’re experiencing knee pain, treatment might include a range of physiotherapies or medication to keep it under control. Your doctor will be able to advise you on what’s best, but they may begin by suggesting over the counter pain relief such as paracetamol, which can be taken regularly to control everyday knee pain.

If this kind of pain relief isn’t enough, there are stronger medications such as codeine, though these need usually need accompanying medication to control side-effects.

You could also be prescribed painkillers known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ( NSAIDs), which help to reduce swelling and ease pain in your knees.

Is it better to use heat or ice on a knee with arthritis?

Both heating and cooling can relieve certain types of knee pain from arthritis, but for different reasons. Warming a joint can help to relieve stiffness in the muscles, while cold can help to reduce inflammation and swelling related to arthritis. Warming up your knees can help to get you moving first thing in the morning, while a cold treatment might help provide relief after exercise or a long walk.

Is there a cure for arthritis of the knee?

There’s no permanent cure for osteoarthritis of the knee, but the methods above can help to keep the symptoms under control, so you can carry on with your life with minimum disruption.

Surgery to repair arthritic knee joints and improve your quality of life are also an option. You can find out more about knee arthritis treatments at Ramsay Health Care, or simply get in touch with us to speak to one of our specialists.

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