Everything you need to know before having knee replacement surgery

If your goal is to put off knee replacement surgery for as long as possible, there are a number of things you can do to help manage your pain and stay active (via HealthPartners).

As counterintuitive as it may seem, exercising and moving your joints, despite pain, can actually stimulate fluid circulation around your knees, strengthen the muscles that support your knees, reduce stiffness, and increase flexibility. Stick to low-impact activities such as walking, swimming, weight training, and bicycling. Any exercise that strengthens your core, hips, and legs, without further damaging your knees, should help manage your pain.

Working with a physical therapist to get a personalized exercise plan that you can do at home can also have long-term benefits, especially if you’re consistent in doing the exercises on your own. And if you’re even a little overweight, consider shedding a few pounds. According to HealthPartners, even losing one pound eliminates four pounds of pressure on your knees, which is pretty impressive.

Cortisone shots and other injections containing hyaluronic acid (HA) help lubricate the inside of the knee and may provide short-term relief — up to about three months — from arthritis pain, says Johns Hopkins Medicine.

As for medications, avoid opioids if possible; they are addictive and not proven to provide long-term knee pain relief. And check with your doctor even before using over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen and naproxen, as they can have side effects.

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