The largest team of foot specialists in Western Canada

Treatments for Knee Osteoarthritis

Treatment Guide for Knee Osteoarthritis

What is Knee Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis and affects 1 out of every 4 Canadians. It is most commonly found in people over the age of 55, but symptoms can begin to form much earlier. OA can affect any joint in your body, including your fingers, hips, lower back, knees, and feet.

Traditionally, OA was associated with degeneration of the cartilage lining bone. However, we now understand that OA is a disorder of all of the tissue in the joint including the underlying bone, meniscus, joint fluid, and even surrounding muscle.

As the degeneration of the joint continues, walking, climbing stairs, and even standing up from a chair can become challenging due to pain.

Knee Osteoarthritis (OA)

Symptoms and Contributors of Knee Osteoarthritis


  • Pain in the knee joint during or after use
  • Loss of mobility
  • Grinding and popping sensations
  • Joint swelling and stiffness
  • Loss of flexibility of knee joint
  • Feeling of locking or giving way


  • Loss of flexibility of knee joint
  • Feeling of locking or giving way
  • Previous knee injuries
  • Repetitive, high-impact activities
  • Inherited genetic traits

Conservative Care vs Surgery

More than 50% of people will wait longer than 6 months for a knee replacement! Regardless of the severity of your condition, our goal is to keep you active each day and remove barriers than knee OA may present.

We have a wide variety of conservative care treatments available to suit your symptoms and lifestyle. However, depending on the symptoms and severity of your condition, your treatment plan may require a combination of the following:

Mild: Education, exercise, weight loss, appropriate footwear

Moderate: Custom orthotics, physiotherapy, bracing, injections

Severe: Complete knee joint replacement surgery

Conservative Treatments for Knee Osteoarthritis

1. Exercise & Weight Loss

Exercises that develop flexibility of your joints and muscles, endurance of your cardiovascular system, and strength of your muscles are one of the best ways to slow the progression of osteoarthritis. Exercising can also aid in weight loss, which reduces pressure on your knees with each step.

Choose exercises that are non-weight bearing or partial weight bearing in order to maintain your activity level without causing more pain in the knee.

Water Activities

Water aerobics classes, swimming, or simply walking at a fast pace through the shallow end of a pool all work to strengthen muscles while taking pressure off your knees.

Trekking Poles

Using trekking poles* can reduce the impact on your knees while walking or hiking. They allow you to use more muscle, burn more calories, and stay more comfortable than standard walking or hiking. Also, because the effort is distributed throughout your body, it is easier to work harder.

*Available at select Kintec locations.

NOTE: Proper footwear is crucial to staying safe and healthy while being active. Worn out or ill-fitting footwear can negatively affect the alignment in your lower leg and cause more knee pain.

2. Over-the-Counter Sports Medicine Products

Lateral Wedges

Lateral wedges are inserts that sit under your feet in your shoes. Changing the angle that your feet sit in your shoes can reduce the pressure in the medial compartment of your knees, decreasing pain and preventing further degeneration.

Compression Sleeves

Compression Sleeves are used to control swelling, which is common with knee OA. Properly fitted knee sleeves can decrease swelling by providing compression and support throughout the joint.

P3 Analgesic

Anti-Inflammatory Cream

Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory cream can be an effective way to temporarily relieve joint pain. P3 Cream (above) contains a combination of essential oils, including peppermint and eucalyptus, instead of harsh ingredients like alcohol, which can cause skin dryness.

3. Custom Products

Custom Orthotics

Over pronation of your feet will cause your knees to internally rotate and can increase the pain caused by osteoarthritis. Custom foot orthotics are used to help control the motion of your feet and ankles, which in turn provide relief to your knees.

Unloader Knee Brace

Unloader knee braces stabilize the knee to limit excess motion as well as provide a specific pressure to the lateral side of the knee joint to unload the medial side (for medial knee OA).

Knee OA ReActivate Conservative Care Program by Kintec

Our ReActivate program is designed to make you feel informed about your condition and equip you with the necessary knowledge and tools to remove barriers that knee osteoarthritis may present for your activities and quality of life.

Following a thorough history, functional testing, and gait analysis, our Knee OA specialists will be able to develop a treatment plan suited to your pain level, goals, and activities.