New research found that this over-the-counter medication was most effective for improving pain and mobility.
An estimated 45 percent of people are at risk of developing knee osteoarthritis in their lifetime, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. The common joint disease gradually occurs over time as cartilage breaks down and bones rub together. The rubbing causes pain and swelling. It’s difficult to use the joint.
Researchers recently analyzed more than 50 studies that looked at knee osteoarthritis treatments to figure out which nonsurgical strategies worked best. Previous studies have found that strength-training, low-impact aerobic exercise, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and weight loss have helped people with their knee pain.
This new research analyzed data from multiple trials to determine the relative effectiveness of various nonsurgical treatments for knee osteoarthritis. The treatments that were compared and ranked included: acetaminophen; ibuprofen; intra-articular or joint injections of cortisone; platelet-rich plasma; hyaluronic acid; several NSAIDs, such as naproxen, celecoxib, and diclofenac; and both oral and IA placebo.
The new study had four key findings:
- Naproxen ranked the highest for improving function, followed by diclofenac, celecoxib, ibuprofen and platlet-rich plasma injections into the joint.
- For reducing pain, cortisone injections provided the greatest short-term relief, lasting four to six weeks, followed by ibuprofen, platlet-rich plasma injections, naproxen and celecoxib.
- Naproxen ranked the most effective individual knee osteoarthritis treatment for improving both pain and function, followed by cortisone injections, platlet-rich plasma injections, ibuprofen and celecoxib.
- Hyaluronic injections did not achieve any ranking in the top five treatments for pain, function, or combined pain/function.t
Although the use of NSAIDs have potential risks such as heart attack and stroke, naproxen has less potential for adverse cardiovascular events, according to a news release from the AAOS.
If you think you have knee osteoarthritis, talk to your orthopaedic specialist. Doctors use several methods to diagnose the disease and rule out other medical problems.