The knee is a complex joint which consists of bone, cartilage, ligaments and tendons that make joint movements easy and at the same time more susceptible to various kinds of injuries. Knee problems may arise if any of these structures get injured by overuse or suddenly during sports activities. Injuries to the knee can be caused by degenerative disease such as arthritis, traumatic injuries and sports injuries. These conditions may affect the bones and joints and impair the mobility as well as the quality of life of the patients. All these conditions require appropriate treatment, may be surgical or non-surgical to restore to normal activities. The non-operative orthopaedic treatment options include non-pharmacological and pharmacological interventions. They are aimed at providing symptomatic relief and improving the quality of life of the patients. They can be used as a treatment option to treat certain conditions or to decrease pain as well as promoting functioning and quality of life after the surgical treatment.
Pharmacological interventions include management of pain using medicinal preparations such as pain-relieving capsules or injections.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: These are known as NSAIDs and are found to be effective in reducing pain and inflammation of the knee. Caution must be taken while using NSAIDs for overdosing as they are known to cause hepatotoxicity. Patients with liver diseases must have extreme care while using them. They cause a range of side effects, chances of which increase with the concomitant use of diuretics, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin 2 receptor blockers, anticoagulants or oral corticosteroids.
Weak and strong opioids: Opioids are prescribed when use of analgesic medications or NSAIDs does not offer symptomatic pain relief, if other treatments have intolerable side effects or in whom the surgery is delayed or contraindicated. Though they offer better pain relief they are known to cause side effects such as dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and constipation. Overdose may lead to respiratory depression. The dose is reduced slowly otherwise it would cause withdrawal effects. They are also known for addiction.
Paracetamol: It is a commonly used analgesic medication for treatment of mild-to-moderate pain. Paracetamol is often recommended as the first line of treatment for orthopedic pain as it is a very safe medication with minimal side effects. It is available as tablets, capsules, or in liquid form. Paracetamol may be safely taken by pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and children; however, the dosage should be as recommended by your doctor. Of note, paracetamol may react with other medications and cause side effects, so you must inform your doctor about any medications you take regularly.