Americans spend some $300 billion per year on pills, procedures, and natural cures to fix knee pain, but a new report from Consumer Reports finds that many don't work.
Like Alejandra Morales, one in two adults will eventually develop knee pain from osteoarthritis.
In their search for relief, many people try dietary supplements that contain glucosamine and chondroitin based on the flashy commercials that claim they can ease joint pain. But Consumer Reports' medical advisor, Dr. Orly Avitzur, said they aren't likely to help.
"There's very little medical evidence that these two supplements will ease your joint pain," Avitzur said.
And glucosamine and chondroitin can pose risks that include an increase in blood sugar levels and a greater chance of bleeding when taken with blood thinners like warfarin. They can also worsen high blood pressure and may trigger abnormal heart rhythms.
Consumer Reports and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons released the Choosing Wisely report that encourages people with knee pain to talk with their doctor, who may suggest you get moving with low-impact activities like walking or swimming, combined with exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles around the joints.
"It's likely you'll still need something for pain flare-ups. We recommend over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or naproxen," Avitzur said.
If you're still having pain, see an orthopedist, who can evaluate the actual damage to your joints.
Consumer Reports shows knee pain treatments don't work
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