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Nonsurgical Treatment Options

Pain Reduction Without Surgery

There are several nonsurgical options for treatment of knee pain. Each option is summarized below. These options are often combined in some manner to treat a specific patient’s problems. Go to the additional pages for more information on each option.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections:

Platelet rich plasma is a concentration of platelets and healing factors normally found in the blood. A patient’s blood is drawn, concentrated, and injected into the knee joint where it acts to enhance the natural healing abilities of the joint. For more information, go to this page.


These substances decrease pain in some patients. They may help cartilage nutrition or they may help by decreasing inflammation. They are sold over the counter. For more information, go to this page.

Flexion Contractures & Physical Therapy

Arthritic and non-arthritic joints may develop “arthrofibrosis.” In this condition the knee fails to straighten fully. Persons with this condition walk with the knee bent to varying degrees. Physical therapy can usually diminish and often eliminate this “flexion contracture.” This improved motion decreases pain in the overwhelming majority of patients to some degree. For more information, go to this page.

Protected Weightbearing

Overuse or repetitive use of the knee can cause damage to the bones around the joint. This damage is seen as “bone edema” – swelling and damage that causes pain. By taking weight off the joint, the pressure on the bones is relieved and the bone has an opportunity to heal. For more information, go to this page.

Synvisc, Hyalgan, or Supartz Injections:

These are hyaluronic acid substitutes. This is the natural lubricant made by your body for joints. An injection of Synvisc (or one of the other products) is made into the joint and helps to relieve pain and inflammation. For more information, go to this page.

knee braceBraces/Shoe Inserts

An unloader knee brace and small wedge shoe inserts can be used to change the angle of the knee slightly. This change in angle removes pressure from the area that is having pain and can relieve that pain. For more information, go to this page.

Credibility Logo

  • American Academy Regenerative Medicine
  • American Academy and Board of Regenerative Medicine
  • American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
  • isakos
  • Rush University Medical Center
  • American Association of Nurse Anesthetists
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • European Society of Sports Traumatology, Knee Surgery Academy
  • International Cartilage Repair Society