How Can I Avoid Knee Replacement Surgery? 

A senior couple speaking with a doctor

Knee arthritis is a degenerative condition characterized by the deterioration of cushioning joint cartilage that allows for fluid, comfortable movement. If you’re among the millions of Americans living with knee arthritis, you may be wondering if undergoing knee replacement surgery is the only way to find meaningful relief from your pain and stay mobile. The answer? Maybe, but maybe not. For some people, nonsurgical or minimally invasive treatments—combined with healthy lifestyle choices—can significantly improve knee arthritis symptoms and help delay or even avoid the need for knee replacement surgery down the road.

Common Knee Arthritis Treatment Approaches

Your ideal course of knee arthritis treatment will depend on individualized factors such as your age, joint health, and overall well-being. That being said, the following approaches can help many arthritis patients delay or avoid knee replacement surgery:

Physical Therapy

A strategic regimen of gentle exercises and non-invasive techniques, physical therapy can reduce knee arthritis pain and improve mobility by gradually strengthening the muscles that support the knee joint.

Joint Injections

Injection therapies such as viscosupplementation (knee gel shots), platelet-rich plasma (PRP) shots, corticosteroids, and stem cell therapy can help some patients find temporary relief from knee arthritis pain.


Taking medications to relieve pain and reduce inflammation in the knee joint are helpful for many patients with arthritis. Commonly used drugs for knee arthritis include acetaminophen, topical capsaicin creams, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and prescription duloxetine.

Arthroscopic Surgery

A minimally invasive surgery called a knee arthroscopy may be performed if much of a patient’s pain is attributed to loose cartilage or bone fragments within the knee joint.

Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Being overweight, smoking, and living a sedentary lifestyle can worsen knee arthritis and limit treatment options. To promote good joint health and help avoid knee replacement surgery, people with knee arthritis should lose excess weight, quit smoking, and engage in low-impact exercises such as walking or swimming on a daily basis.

What to Do If Knee Replacement Surgery Is Recommended

It’s important to remember that knee replacement surgery (knee arthroplasty) is a viable treatment option with a very high success rate—many knee arthritis patients who undergo this procedure experience life-changing results. If your physician encourages you to consider knee replacement surgery, it’s worth looking into. Before committing to any treatment, though, be sure to ask plenty of questions and carefully examine all of your options.

Knee Arthritis Treatment at Tampa Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Group

Tampa Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Group has been providing comprehensive musculoskeletal treatment and compassionate care to patients in the Tampa Bay area since 1949. Today, our team includes Dr. Daniel Murphy—a board-certified orthopedic sports medicine surgeon who excels in treating knee arthritis through surgical and non-surgical methods.

If you’re tired of dealing with knee arthritis pain and are ready to explore your treatment options with a trusted orthopedic specialist, contact Tampa Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Group today at (813) 253-2406 or request an appointment on our website.