Your physician will determine your specific treatment for osteoarthritis based on:
- Your age, overall health and medical history
- The extent of the condition
- Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures and therapies
- Expectations for the course of the condition
- Your opinion or preference
The goals of osteoarthritis treatment are to reduce joint pain and stiffness and improve joint movement. Treatment may include:
- Exercise: Regular aerobic exercise and stretching and strengthening exercises may help reduce the symptoms and pain associated with osteoarthritis.
- Heat treatment: Treating the affected joint with heat may help reduce pain.
- Physical and occupational therapy: Physical and occupational therapy may help reduce joint pain, improve joint flexibility when performing daily activities and reduce joint strain. Splints and other assistive devices may also be used.
- Weight maintenance: Maintaining your recommended weight or losing weight (if overweight) may help prevent or reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
- Medication: Medication for specific symptoms may include pain relievers (in pill form or topical cream) and anti-inflammatory medications, if inflammation is present.
- Injections of thick liquids into the joints: These liquids mimic normal joint fluid.
- Joint surgery: Surgery may be necessary to repair or replace a severely damaged joint.