Exploring Non-Surgical Options for Knee Pain Relief: What Works?

Miss Charlotte Barker
MSK Associate
Published at: 11/12/2023

Exploring Non-Surgical Options for Knee Pain Relief: What Works?


Knee pain is a common ailment that affects people of various ages and lifestyles. While surgery is a viable option for certain conditions, many patients prefer to explore non-surgical routes for pain relief. Understanding these alternatives can be pivotal in managing knee pain effectively. Here, we delve into some of the most promising non-surgical treatments that are available.

1. Physical Therapy and Exercise

Effectiveness: High Physical therapy is a cornerstone in the management of knee pain. A tailored exercise programme can strengthen the muscles around the knee, improving stability and reducing stress on the joint. Activities such as swimming and cycling are low-impact options that can be beneficial.

2. Weight Management

Effectiveness: Moderate to high excess weight can significantly increase the strain on your knees. Weight loss, as part of a healthy lifestyle, can alleviate knee pain by reducing this strain. Dietary changes and exercise are key components in effective weight management.

3. Medications

Effectiveness: Variable over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, can be effective for mild to moderate knee pain. For more severe pain, stronger medications may be prescribed by your doctor. It's crucial to use these medications as directed to avoid potential side effects.

4. Injections

Effectiveness: Moderate corticosteroid injections can provide temporary relief from knee pain. Hyaluronic acid injections, which aim to supplement the joint's natural lubricants, are another option. The efficacy of these treatments can vary among individuals.

5. Regenerative Medicine

Effectiveness: Emerging evidence treatments such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP), Arthrosamid, micro-fragmented adipose tissue (MFAT) and stem cell therapy are gaining attention in the field of regenerative medicine. These therapies aim to harness the body's own healing mechanisms, although more research is needed to fully understand their effectiveness.

6. Bracing or Orthotics

Effectiveness: Moderate Knee braces or orthotics can provide support and alleviate pain by redistributing weight away from the most damaged parts of the knee. They can be particularly useful for those with knee osteoarthritis.


Managing knee pain without surgery is a multifaceted approach that can be highly effective for many individuals. It is important to consult with healthcare professionals, like orthopaedic surgeons or physical therapists, to create a tailored treatment plan. As research continues, particularly in regenerative medicine, new and improved treatments are likely to emerge.