The Alternatives to Knee Osteoarthritis Surgery

woman suffering from knee osteoarthritis, medical illustration of knee osteoarthritis.

What is Knee Osteoarthritis?

Technically, knee osteoarthritis is a type of degenerative disease that can worsen as a person ages. The condition causes knee pain when the cartilage between the joints wears away. Often referred to as “wear-and-tear” arthritis, continuous rubbing without intervention can lead to stiffness, swelling, and even bone spurs. If you have any form of knee pain and are considering surgery, read on. Our staff is also offering you a free MRI Review so that you can have a second opinion on whether surgery is right for you or not. 

Knee osteoarthritis can be difficult to diagnose, but there are some common symptoms people experience. Usually, people who develop knee osteoarthritis feel:

  • Worsening knee pain when active
  • Inflammation in the joint
  • The joint will feel warm
  • Decreased mobility or stiffness, especially after sitting for a prolonged time.
  • Cracking or creaking sound in the knee joint
Senior woman holding the knee with pain suffers from knee osteoarthritis

Traditionally, three types of surgery can help treat knee osteoarthritis. Arthroscopy surgery uses a small telescope inserted through a tiny incision. The surgeon will remove damaged cartilage and clean the surface of the bones. An osteotomy is a type of surgery that can help change the shape of the knee bones and better align the joint. Osteotomy is usually only recommended if the damage to the knee is localized to one area, such as a broken knee bone that didn’t heal well. Lastly, a joint replacement surgery, called an arthroplasty, will replace the existing damaged knee joint with an artificial joint.  

While knee surgery can effectively treat knee osteoarthritis, there are some negative downsides. Surgery can be extremely costly for patients, and the rehabilitation time is long. Many people will take weeks to recover from an extensive knee surgery, which can involve ongoing physical therapy and prescription medication for pain management.  

Luckily, there are plenty of non-invasive alternatives to knee osteoarthritis surgery. Using a combination of treatment options, like physical therapy, chiropractic care, and strength training, it is possible to reduce pain and inflammation and help heal painful knee joints.  

The Alternatives to Knee Osteoarthritis Surgery

Knee osteoarthritis can cause lingering pain that worsens over time. While surgery can be successful, seeking alternatives to knee osteoarthritis surgery are the best route to take when first diagnosed. Non-invasive treatment options can successfully eliminate knee pain and lead to a healthier body with limited recovery time.  

Some common knee osteoarthritis surgery alternatives include: 

1. Physical Therapy

Physical therapy focuses on strengthening and conditioning soft tissues, like the muscles surrounding the knee. With stronger muscles, your body can better support the knee joint, alleviating pain and reducing inflammation. Stretching the muscles, tendons, and ligaments can make your knee more flexible and less prone to stiffness, especially after sitting for long periods.  

2. Cryotherapy

This non-invasive technique can reduce pain centered around the knee joint and reduce inflammation, which can cause stiffness and limit the range of motion. Cryotherapy is an excellent choice for those who have arthritis.     

A man doing some strength training at the gym

3. Strength Training

Strengthening the muscles around the knee joint can better support your weight and reduce pain and inflammation in the uncushioned knee. Strength training makes your leg muscles stronger and can help you lose weight, reducing overall knee impact day in and day out.  

4. Chiropractic Care

By aligning the body to ensure balance, chiropractic care can help alleviate knee pain caused by knee osteoarthritis. Sometimes, a misalignment in the joint can cause undue wear and tear, creating painful bone spurs. Chiropractic adjustments can better balance the body, reducing pain, impact, and inflammation, allowing the knee to heal.  

5. Pain Management

Pain management encompasses several treatment options ranging from massage therapy to prescription medication to alleviate pain. Often, pain management can include injectable medication, like corticosteroids, to reduce pain and inflammation in the knee joint. Although minimally invasive, this temporary treatment option can provide immediate relief.

Creating a customized plan utilizing multiple non-invasive options is always the best path before considering surgery. Alternatives to knee osteoarthritis are often effective and significantly reduce recovery time. Surgery should only be used as a last resort to treat knee osteoarthritis.  

Let Houston Spine & Rehab Centers Help You

Chiropractor is doing some knee treatment to the patient that suffers from Knee Osteoarthritis

Offering comprehensive care, innovative techniques, and compassionate treatment, the team at Houston Spine & Rehab is ready to help you. With over 50 years of combined experience, Drs. Yezak and Neuburger are dedicated to alleviating knee pain through non-invasive alternatives to knee osteoarthritis surgery.

With many tools at their disposal, including physical therapy, manual manipulation, cryotherapy, and pain management techniques, we will create a customized treatment plan utilizing one or several combined techniques. A personalized MRI review by our Chief of Staff, Dr. Yezak, will begin your treatment plan. Don’t immediately turn to complicated surgery with a lengthy recovery time when non-invasive treatment options can reduce swelling and pain and prevent long-term injury.  


With convenient locations in the Houston area, including The Woodlands and Houston, you’ll be able to find a clinic in your neighborhood. Offering comprehensive, compassionate care, our professional team cares about getting you back to the activities you love.  

Begin your wellness journey with a call to our Houston office at 713-652-4052. Enjoy a free MRI review with our doctors so we can plan your personalized wellness treatment today.  

Dr. Mark Yezak
Mark Yezak, BS, DC, is the founder, chiropractic director, and chief of staff at Houston Spine & Rehabilitation Centers. Offering 25 years of experience. Dr. Yezak is a published author of research papers, books, and journal entries. He is undoubtedly a leader in his field.
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