Three Natural Ways to Avoid Knee Surgery
As you age, the odds increase that one of your major joints—like your knee or hip—will cause you problems. Often, the root issue is arthritis, but that’s not the only one. Old injuries, overuse, or poor diet can all lead to joint stress. For most, once the pain is too much, joint replacement surgery usually follows.
But, what if there were ways to alleviate the pain, reclaim mobility, and enjoy your life without ever needing to go under the knife?
Today, we discuss how you can do just that. But first—why should you be so wary of surgery in the first place?
There’s no such thing as safe surgery
We tend to think of surgery as a painful, but safe, solution to many ills. We think it so safe, that there’s an entire industry of elective surgeries.
But the truth is, surgery always comes with risk. I recently read about a patient who died due to an infection contracted while getting a face lift. There is always risk involved in surgery.
Now it’s true that some surgeries are riskier than others. It’s harder to operate on a heart or brain than a leg. And some people have greater risk than others. Diabetes or a history of heart trouble, for instance, up the odds that something will go wrong.
That’s why it’s important, before any surgery, to ask how high your personal risk is. And you have to weigh that against the benefit. When it comes to joint replacement surgery, the risk is usually higher than the reward demands.
On top of that, though we don’t think of it this way, joint replacement is a temporary fix. Most replacement joints have a shelf-life of around 20 years—but sometimes much less. If you’re having surgery at 59, you’re most likely going to have to go through the whole process again, at a more advanced age.
That’s why the best solution is to avoid surgery altogether, with these three tips.
- Strengthen your joint. Exercise will always have the greatest effect.
The exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous. In fact, when you are trying to help out an ailing joint, it shouldn’t be.
Instead, increase your flexibility. Stretch. Give your joints more mobility, and better room to work.
For a knee, hug your leg in close to your body, and hold. Do that for each leg three times, 20 seconds each. Stretch out your thigh by holding your foot up against your backside, for the same number of repetitions and time.
For hips, crouch down with one leg outstretched to the side. Switch legs back and forth three times.
Strengthening the muscles around your joint helps as well, as they can help support your joint, and hold it in place. Lunges—taking a large step forward with one foot, dropping low to the floor so your back knee nearly touches, then getting back up—are a great way to make your entire leg stronger, hip and knees included.
Squats are wonderful as well. With your feet planted shoulder-width, lower your backside towards the floor like you’re sitting, with the weight on the back of your feet, and then rise back up. Repeat for sixty seconds.
If you have a preferred way to exercise your legs, go for it. Just make sure you speak with a professional if you have any doubt about the safety of an exercise for your joint. You don’t want extra stress—you want extra strength!
Speaking of stress, losing weight is a powerful way to decrease the stress on your joints. When you take a step, the impact of your weight is three to six times greater than your actual weight. So a 10-pound loss means a 30-60 pound reduction in joint stress.
Find an aerobic exercise that can safely get you sweating. Swimming is a fabulous workout that is generally safe for all your joints.
- Take healthy, safe supplements. Glucosamine and chondroitin both are famous for joint relief, but they can take up to eight weeks to “kick in”. UC-II—an especially powerful type of collagen—works a lot faster and can actually halt the autoimmune and enzyme-related actions that cause joint destruction.
And hyaluronic acid is a naturally-occurring lubricant that can help relieve arthritic pain. Some doctors give it as an injection, and it’s also available as a hyaluronic softgel that works very well.
Finally, curcumin has proven a godsend when it comes to joint pain. It reduces inflammation, and encourages health in cartilage and the body’s natural lubricants. Look for a form like Cavacurmin® or Meriva® that’s optimized for better absorption.
- Acupuncture and massage. Finally, acupuncture and massage can do wonders for your joints.
Both help alleviate pain. Massage can help increase flexibility. And acupuncture has been in use for 5,000 years for good reason. It’s not uncommon to discover stories of joint pain cured overnight with the help of a good acupuncturist.
For joints, adding electrical stimulation to your acupuncture can intensify the benefits, and even help strengthen surrounding muscle and tissue.
All these solutions are much better options than surgery. They’re cheaper, easier, and will give you better results.
Many of us will need surgery on something, someday. But it doesn’t have to be today. And it definitely doesn’t have to be on your knee, or hip. In almost all cases, with a little bit of time and effort, you’ll get much better results with exercise, acupuncture, and healthy, safe supplements.
- Osteoarthritis Blog, If You Have Osteoarthritis, Take Care Of Your Knees To Avoid Surgery, Arthritis Foundation, July 22 2016
- Harvard Health Letter, Avoiding knee or hip surgery, Harvard Medical School, Jun 2013
- Clarisse Douaud, UC-II may bring more arthritis relief than glucosamine + chondroitin, Nutra-ingredients USA, Oct 24 2006
- Jennifer Whitlock, What Is The Risk of Death From Surgery?, Very Well, May 6 2016
Last Updated: September 6, 2019
Originally Published: October 14, 2016