Non-surgical treatment options for knee OA

The effectiveness of certain treatments will vary from person to person and from knee to knee. Success may also depend on lifestyle factors. That’s why your treatment plan for osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee will usually involve a combination of approaches designed specifically to suit you.


Technology is always advancing and today there are braces that can apply corrective forces to the leg to take pressure off areas where the arthritis is at its worse. Originally braces were big and bulky devices, but now there are lightweight, easy-to-use braces such as the Unloader One that are specifically designed for – and proven to help with – knee OA.

Soft Supports
Soft Supports can usually be bought by patients themselves at a pharmacy or sports shop. They tend to be made of a soft, stretchy material and provide a combination of compression, warmth and gentle support. Soft Supports do however not provide the same level of support and pain relief as the Unloader One, specifically designed to treat the symptoms of knee OA.

Other assistive devices
To avoid putting too much stress on your knee, you may choose to use a walking stick/cane or other kinds of walking aids. You can also get special inserts for your shoes, which are designed to support your foot properly when walking, which may in turn help to lessen the pressure on your knee.

Physical or occupational therapy

If your doctor thinks massage and exercises may help, he or she may refer you to a physiotherapist, who can work with you on an exercise program tailored to your needs.

If you would benefit from things like a higher chair or toilet seat (so you don’t have to bend your knees so much), you may find it useful to talk to an occupational therapist, who will know all about special devices to make home and work life easier and less painful.

Weight management and exercising

If you can lose any surplus body weight, you will help to ease the pain because the stress on your knee is reduced. Regular exercise can help to achieve that. It can also improve your strength and flexibility, which will help to increase movement and potentially reduce the pain.

It’s important to include joint and muscle exercises, but to avoid as much as possible high-impact activities that increase the load on your knee, such as climbing lots of stairs. Avoid activities that involve twisting or rapid stop/start movements. Try not to bend or kneel down too much, or lift heavy objects. Don’t sit down too often on low chairs or sofas. And if you do have to do any of these things, remember to take a break and give your joints a rest.

Medication and injections

Medication is used primarily to control the symptoms of knee OA, especially the pain. There are a number of prescription drugs and common over-the-counter-medicines that can help. These include aspirin-free pain relievers (paracetamol), anti-inflammatory drugs and creams, corticosteroids (steroids to help control inflammation) and sleeping pills.

Pain can gradually get worse as the OA progresses, so sometimes stronger drugs are prescribed. However, the long-term nature of OA means that taking stronger medication over a long period of time may lead to unwanted side-effects, which have to be taken into consideration when treating the condition.

Injections of hyaluronic acid (found naturally in healthy joints) can also be used to provide temporary relief, while anesthetics with an anti-inflammatory ingredient (commonly cortisone) may help to relieve the pain by numbing the knee. These kinds of injections are well-established treatments, but the results can vary from patient to patient.

Wellbeing and mental health

Chronic or ongoing pain can be a real drain on your emotional wellbeing, as much as your physical health. Try to stay positive by talking things through with your family or friends or maybe finding new ways to relax, like meditation. In some regions there are local support groups for arthritis, with people who understand what it’s like to live with this pain.

Alternative therapies

Some people prefer to replace or complement their treatment with certain foodstuffs, dietary supplements or herbal remedies. While these can work well for some, these treatments are not widely regulated and their effectiveness is often not proven, so always talk to your doctor if you are planning to use alternative or complementary medicines/therapies.

Heat/cold therapies

You may find that you can get some relief from the pain and stiffness of knee OA by using heat or cold over your joints. Inflammation and swelling can often be reduced with ice-packs, while heat or a hot compress can help to relax your muscles and increase blood circulation.

Braced for a more active life

The support provided by the Unloader One knee brace allows you to engage in activities you may otherwise have avoided because of the discomfort caused by OA. Sports you might have cut back on or given up on due to pain can potentially be resumed, and your mobility restored for everyday life.

Interested in the Unloader One?

We can help you, contact us TOLL FREE at 1800-3000-6220 or send us an e-mail at [email protected] ...or simply want to learn some more about the knee brace?Össur India's specialists are also available to answer any questions you might have on knee OA and the Unloader One knee brace. Ask our expert.


Call us TOLL FREE for more information:

or send us an e-mail at [email protected]
This site offers information on the treatment options for knee pain caused by osteoarthritis, one of the most common causes of debilitating knee pain.

Össur is a global leader in the development of non-invasive orthopeadics. Always at the forefront of innovation, delivering a wide range of products and services, Össur’s reputation has been built on scientifically-proven designs with the emphasis on clinical outcomes.

The Unloader One knee brace is one of the company’s flagship products.

Ossur India
207B, 2nd Floor,
Rectangle one, District Centre,
Saket, New Delhi – 110017

Toll Free: 1800-3000-6220

[email protected]