What Are The Best Treatments For Osteoarthritis Of The Knees And Hips?

treatments for osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease and a leading cause of disability. This condition generally affects weight-bearing joints like the knees and hips. As a result, patients have a decreased range of motion and may not be able to enjoy day-to-day activities. 

Data suggests that the incidence of osteoarthritis is much higher in women than in men. The higher risk in women could be attributed to hormonal imbalances, lack of calcium in their diet, and even obesity. [1]

It is possible to relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis and live an active life by getting appropriate treatment. We’ll look at some of the best treatments for osteoarthritis of the knees and hips. 

Which are the best medications for treating osteoarthritis?


Most people with mild symptoms of osteoarthritis are advised to take Acetaminophen. Similar to NSAIDs, it helps to relieve pain. However, the long-term use of Acetaminophen may cause liver damage. [2]


In some cases, women may have to use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium. NSAIDs are known to cause stomach upset, bleeding problems, and kidney damage. 

Topical analgesics 

People can use gels, creams and patches containing NSAIDs on the affected joints to relieve pain, swelling and stiffness. 

PRP therapy 

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy can be effective in some cases. It can be administered by a doctor as an injection. PRP therapy involves the injection of proteins that can reduce pain and inflammation of the affected body part.

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Other medicines 

Corticosteroids and antidepressants like Duloxetine are also used to treat chronic pain in the knees and hips caused due to osteoarthritis. [3]

Some other medications used for treating osteoarthritis include topical counter-irritants like menthol and capsaicin.

These medicines work by irritating the nerve endings and make the part feel colder or warmer. This can take your attention away from the actual joint pain. 

Since osteoarthritis is a chronic progressive condition, the use of medications alone can not be effective for managing the symptoms. It is also important to adopt healthy lifestyle habits to relieve symptoms and slow down the degenerative changes in the joints. 

The following are safe and effective alternative treatments for osteoarthritis of the knees and hips and are aimed at reducing pain and supporting joint movements. 

Alternative treatments for osteoarthritis

1. Physical Activities

Regular exercises can improve joint flexibility and slow down the progress of osteoarthritis. Exercise can also help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce pressure on the weight-bearing joints like the knees and hips. 

Some of the best exercises recommended for women with osteoarthritis include:

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  • Stretching: These exercises can increase joint flexibility. It can also improve the range of motion of the affected joints and lubricate them. Yoga and Pilates are good stretching exercises to relieve osteoarthritis. 
  • Strength training: Strength training like lifting weights can help to build muscles and protect the joints from injuries. Doing push-ups and sit-ups can also strengthen the muscles and improve your balance and posture thereby slowing down the progress of this disease. [4]
  • Aerobics: Aerobic exercises like walking, cycling, and swimming can help you lose weight, increase your stamina, and improve joint flexibility. [5]

2. Physical therapy

Physical therapy involves performing exercises that can strengthen the muscles around the knee and hips. It can increase the flexibility of the joints and reduce pain. 

3. Healthy diet

Eating nutritious foods containing calcium and vitamin D could help strengthen bones and minimize degenerative changes. People are also advised to consume foods containing omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation and degeneration in the joints. 

4. Cold and heat application

An alternate application of heat and cold is effective in the management of osteoarthritis. Applying ice packs to the affected joint can reduce swelling in the joints and relieve pain. [6]

Similarly, applying a heating pad or a hot water bottle can dilate the blood vessels and improve blood circulation into the joint tissues. This can help to reduce pain and stiffness and support faster healing of inflamed tissues. [7]

5. Braces and shoe inserts

Devices like shoe inserts and braces could reduce pain while standing and walking. These devices work by taking off some of the pressure from the joint. 

A person can also use assistive devices, like a cane or a walker, to reduce the pressure exerted on the weight-bearing joints of the legs. It is advisable to hold the cane or walker in the hand opposite of the leg that hurts. [8]

6. Occupational therapy

Occupational therapy is recommended in severe cases of osteoarthritis when the symptoms become so intense that they begin to interfere with the routine activities of the patient. 

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An occupational therapist would help you learn easier ways to perform routine tasks without exerting pressure on the painful joint. For example, having a bench in your shower may relieve the knee and hip pain caused due to standing. 

Advanced treatments for osteoarthritis 

People who suffer from osteoarthritis that severely restricts their daily activities may need advanced treatments for osteoarthritis like hip or knee replacement. [9]

Knee osteotomy and realignment of the bones are the other surgical procedures that may be recommended depending on the specific structural abnormalities in the joints.

Injections of cortisone or lubricating agents directly into the affected joint may help in some cases. [10] [11]

However, the need for these advanced treatments for osteoarthritis could be avoided by adopting healthy lifestyle measures. 


The use of medications including painkillers and steroids can provide considerable relief to people with osteoarthritis of the knees and hips. However, the long-term use of these medications can result in side effects. It is advisable to limit the use of these medicines.

People should exercise regularly and adopt alternative therapies like applying ice packs. It would allow Them to reduce their dependence on painkillers and ensure they can live a healthy and active life.

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  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23471773/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK361008/
  3. https://www.arthritis.org/diseases/osteoarthritis
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3635671/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4431424/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2920200/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7839157/
  8. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/osteoarthritis/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351930
  9.   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3382388/
  10. https://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/osteoarthritis-treatment-options
  11. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/osteoarthritis/treatment/

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