Patients often want to delay or avoid joint replacement. Many doctors suggest pain relievers or nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs combined with exercise as an early treatment program. Patient education for improving posture and reducing biomechanical imbalances may be provided by a physical therapist.
Other treatment options can include steroid injections, glucosamine supplements, or bracing. Minor surgery such as arthroscopic debridement may be advised. The surgeon removes any frayed edges or loose fragments of cartilage.
This type of treatment is not routinely advised for all patients but may be most effective for low-grade OA.