What Are the Treatments for Severe Knee Arthritis?

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Arthritis of the knee occurs when the knee joint becomes inflamed. The three main types of arthritis that affect the knees are rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic arthritis and osteoarthritis. Various treatments are available for severe knee arthritis.

Non-surgical Treatments

Non-surgical treatment options for severe knee arthritis include physiotherapy exercises, applications of ice or heat and using supportive devices, such as canes and knee braces. Physicians often put arthritic individuals on weight-loss diets.


Losing weight reduces the amount of stress on the inflamed knee, while physiotherapy exercises help increase the range of flexibility and motion. Knee braces and canes help with function and stability.

Surgical Treatments

Severe arthritis of the knee is often treated with surgical procedures such as arthroscopy, cartilage grafting and osteomy. Some individuals receive partial or total knee replacement surgery.


Arthroscopic surgery removes worn out cartilage fragments, which washes the degrading enzymes from the knee. Osteomy realigns the thighbone or the shinbone, which helps to improve the alignment of the affected knee.

Other Treatments

Some arthritis sufferers find relief with drug treatments involving anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroids or glucosamine and chondroitin supplements. Alternative therapies, such as magnetic pulse therapy or acupuncture, might also relieve severe knee arthritis symptoms.


Untreated arthritis of the knee gradually worsens. Because the cartilage in the knee doesn't receive a direct blood supply, it generally can't heal on its own.