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Provider stretching knee of patient

In some cases, knee injuries or knee pain may not require surgical interventions, just a little TLC. The Penn Orthopaedic team manage patients with non-surgical treatments for as long as possible. For those who suffer from arthritis, physical therapy or steroid injections can be used to alleviate symptoms before the damage or inflammation is too severe.  

No matter the knee condition you have, we will guide you and determine the best treatment option for you. Some of the more conservative treatments and alternatives to surgery that we may recommend include: 


We may suggest a knee brace to provide external stability to the knee joint. Braces are designed to stabilize a joint, reduce pain and inflammation and strengthen the muscles of the knee. By putting pressure on the sides of the joint, the brace causes the joint to realign, which in turn decreases the contact between the two rough bone surfaces, reduces pain and increases mobility.

Injections and Infusions

Some medications can be injected directly into the knee to treat your pain. These include corticosteroids to reduce inflammation. With infusion therapy, medications are delivered intravenously or directly into the muscles to reduce inflammation.

Lifestyle Modifications

We may ask you to make some lifestyle modifications to your daily routine, such as losing weight, avoiding activities such as running and performing low-impact exercise to reduce stress on your knee.


Nutraceuticals are herbal or dietary supplements that may have health benefits for your knee joint. These supplements include glucosamine and chondroitin, which may help with overall health of the bones and soft tissues.

Pain Medications

Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) and ibuprofen (e.g., Advil and Motrin), are commonly used to ease knee pain. Topical analgesics such as muscle rubs can also be used for temporary pain relief. We may also recommend other prescription medications such as antirheumatic drugs and biological response modifiers.

Physical and Occupational Therapy

Rehabilitative medicine and exercise programs can stretch and strengthen the muscles and soft tissues of your knee joint to improve flexibility and joint support. Changing the way you perform daily activities may also help in alleviating knee pain through limiting excessive strain on your knee. This can be aided through the use of therapeutics and other apparel specially designed for knee pain.

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