Important Privacy Notice for Alta Medical Management/Eye Care Leaders. Click Here to learn more.

Non-surgical Treatment Options

What are my non-surgical treatment options?

The right treatment for hip, knee, or shoulder pain depends on what is causing the issue. In general, some non-surgical treatment options may include ice, rest, medications, and in some cases physical therapy.

Ask your doctor about which option is best for you.

Put ice on the knee to reduce pain and swelling – For the first few weeks after an injury, or after an activity that makes your pain worse, you can try icing your knee. Put a cold gel pack, bag of ice, or bag of frozen vegetables on the injured area every 1 to 2 hours, for 15 minutes each time. Put a thin towel between the ice (or other cold object) and your skin. To reduce swelling, sit or lie down and raise your leg above the level of your heart when you put ice on it.

Rest your knee and avoid movements that worsen the pain. Try not to squat, kneel, or run. Also, don’t use exercise machines, such as stair steppers or rowing machines. Instead, you can walk or swim (the front and back crawl strokes) for exercise.

The use of an ACE Bandage or wrap or compression socks can be helpful in reducing the swelling and stress on and around the knee.

Elevation is using gravity to our advantage. This consists of elevating the knee above the heart for a period of time. This can be accomplished using pillows or something soft and supportive.

Hint: Lowering the level of your heart is easier than elevating the leg higher.

Physical therapy is sometimes used with the goal of rehabilitating your knee, hip, or shoulder to return to normal activity.

Working with a physical therapist after an orthopedic injury can provide significant assistance to the patient.  Increasing the range of motion of joints, strengthening muscles, and improving functional mobility are just a few of the benefits of therapy.  Whether you’ve recently had an injury or recovered from an orthopedic procedure, physical therapy is a great way to help patients safely return to their optimal health and function.  Many of our therapists will work with patients to develop a home exercise program. This customized program can be done more frequently and for a longer duration than can be accomplished during a one-on-one session with the therapist.  Our office works closely with the physical therapy team to coordinate the optimal individualized exercise program for the patient. 

A variety of local injectables are available to our patients to treat pain that results from an orthopedic injury or medical conditions that affect joints, muscles, and tendons. Steroids and synthetic joint lubricant injections can provide significant pain relief and can be performed in the comfort of our office without the need and extra cost that comes with hospital-based procedures. 

All major joints including the shoulder, hip, and knee can be injected in the office using ultrasound guidance to ensure the medication is placed right where it is needed and where it will provide the most benefit to the patient.  Trigger point injections can also be performed in the office to help alleviate pain. 

Several medications are available to patients suffering from pain and discomfort. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, topical creams, and steroids are some of the non-operative treatment modalities that can be beneficial in treating painful joints, muscles, or tendons. When these medications are used in conjunction with therapy and local injectables the patient can improve their outcomes after injury or during the rehabilitation phase after an operation. 

Patients may also take pain-relieving medicines, such as acetaminophen (sample brand name: Tylenol) or ibuprofen (sample brand names: Advil, Motrin) from home if directed by their doctor.

What are my non-surgical treatment options if I have hip pain?

The right treatment for hip pain depends on what is causing it. In general, treatments might include:

  • Taking medicines or applying topical solutions to reduce pain and/or inflammation
  • Getting a shot of a medicine called a corticosteroid, which can reduce inflammation
  • Physical therapy or exercises recommended by your provider
  • Taking a warm shower or bath to warm up the muscles prior to stretches and exercise
  • Use of a cane, walker, shoe insert, or other device