joint pain

Got hip or knee pain? Here’s how to find relief

Written by Dr. Stephen Duncan, orthopaedic surgeon at UK Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine.

Join Dr. Duncan on Thursday, March 22 at the Lexington Public Library, Beaumont Branch for a free information session about hip and knee pain. The event is free, but please call 800-333-8874 to reserve your seat. 

If you’d like to make an appointment at UK HealthCare now, call 859-257-1000.

Dr. Stephen Duncan

Dr. Stephen Duncan

Every year, nearly 30 million people are treated for joint pain in their knees and hips.

That number isn’t surprising: Over the course of our lives, our hips and knees take on a lot of wear and tear.

The good news is there are ways you can reduce the strain placed on your joints to maintain the health of your hips and knees. And if you do have joint pain, there are ways your doctor can help you find relief.

Preventing knee and hip pain

Being overweight can cause joint pain, so it’s important to maintain a healthy weight. Shed extra pounds and keep them off by starting an exercise program and improving your eating habits.

People who engage in high-impact activities, like running, basketball or Zumba, can take steps to prevent joint issues. Physical therapy to strengthen the muscles surrounding the hips and knees can do wonders in reducing and preventing joint pain. Strengthening your core muscles can also relieve joint strain.

Supplements can aid in improving joint health and reducing pain. Omega-3 fatty acids block inflammatory compounds, which can help reduce joint tenderness and stiffness. Ginger has been shown to be a natural anti-inflammatory, while capsaicin (the stuff that gives peppers their heat) reduces substance P, a pain transmitter.

Treatment options

Too often, joint pain is considered part of aging, and if a person has suffered over a long period of time, it can just be considered part of life.

If you have persistent joint pain, don’t let it prevent you from seeing your doctor. If your joint pain has lasted more than six months and is not responding to activity modification and/or anti-inflammatory medicines, it’s time to see an orthopaedist.

Common treatments for knee and hip joint pain are arthroscopy and joint replacement. Arthroscopy can be done for patients with mild arthritis to remove a torn meniscus in the knee or a labrum in the hip. Recovery from this procedure is typically four to eight weeks.

Hip or knee replacements are done for more advanced arthritis. Recovery for hip replacement is typically four to eight weeks, but is largely dependent on the patient’s health. Partial knee replacement recovery lasts approximately four to six weeks, while a total knee replacement has a recovery time of six to 12 weeks.

Reducing the chances of needing orthopaedic surgery is possible, but knowing the signs of pain that may require medical intervention is vital.


Next steps

  • Check out our Making the Rounds interview with Dr. Duncan, where he tells us about his own athletic endeavors and what he enjoys most about his job.
  • Join Dr. Duncan on Thursday, March 22 at the Lexington Public Library, Beaumont Branch for a free information session about hip and knee pain. The event is free, but please call 800-333-8874 to reserve your seat. If you’d like to make an appointment at UK HealthCare now, call 859-257-1000.