Nonsurgical and surgical options for managing joint pain

A twinge in your knee after a long day of hiking and slight shoulder pain after starting a new workout plan is common. Occasional joint pain is a normal part of life. But chronic joint pain that gets in the way of the things you love, isn’t.

Our team of orthopedists, physical therapists and joint care experts can treat even the most complex joint issues. Whether you’re dealing with pain caused by arthritis or an injury, we’ll guide you toward the most effective treatment plan for you. We provide comprehensive treatments for joints, including medications, physical therapy and, when necessary, surgery.

We’ve helped patients of all ages and activity levels, from professional athletes to yoga-lovers, get back to the life they love. Make an appointment at one of our many locations throughout the Twin Cities to take your first step to managing joint pain.

Nonsurgical treatments for joint pain

In most cases, the first course of treatment for joint conditions is nonsurgical. We offer comprehensive nonsurgical joint treatments, including:

Self-care

The first step to managing joint pain is with self-care. There are many things you can do at home to help relieve pain, stiffness and swelling. Try using rest, ice, compression and elevation, a common treatment called R.I.C.E.

Lifestyle changes, like managing weight and increasing activity, can also relieve pain by reducing the pressure on your joints. We work closely with dietitians, athletic trainers and physical therapists who can help you make those changes.

Medicines

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help manage pain and discomfort caused by inflammation. Over-the-counter options like ibuprofen and naproxen can be effective choices, and prescription NSAIDs are available if drugstore options don’t work for you. Steroids, including prednisone and cortisone, can also be used to manage inflammation.

Arthritis and osteoarthritis are the top causes of joint pain. Medicines used to treat these conditions can help reduce joint pain and other symptoms. 

Injections

Corticosteroid injections can provide long-term relief from inflammation in your hips, shoulders or knees. They may provide relief for up to three months.

Hyaluronic injections are a type of treatment where we inject gel – very similar to natural joint fluid – into the affected joint. Right now, it can only be used to treat knee conditions. Pain relief from hyaluronic injections may last anywhere from a few months up to a year. 

Physical therapy for joint pain

Physical therapy uses specialized exercises, manual therapy and education to manage pain and improve mobility. Our board-certified physical therapists will lead you through exercises that target the muscles around your joints. Strengthening these muscles takes pressure off your joints to relieve pain and stress.

We’ll also show you how to modify activities so you can keep doing the things you love without the risk of pain or further injury.

Orthobiologics

TRIA is at the forefront of orthobiologics, a type of treatment that uses substances naturally found in the body to reduce inflammation and promote healing.

Orthobiologic treatments can be used instead of surgery or in addition to surgery. While there are many different types of orthobiologic therapies, platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections are the most commonly used orthobiologic treatment for joint conditions.

Surgical treatments for joint pain

When nonsurgical treatments don’t relieve your joint pain and other symptoms, we may recommend surgery. While your mind might jump to joint replacements when you think of surgical joint treatments, there are many other surgeries that are used to manage joint pain.

Depending on your condition, we may perform many different minimally invasive procedures, including arthroscopy. We only recommend surgery if it’s the best way to treat your condition. If surgery is the best treatment option for you, we’ll talk with you about what to expect before, during and after the procedure, as well as answer any questions you may have.

Online joint care seminar

It’s common to have a lot of questions about joint pain and different treatment options. Our orthopedic surgeons put together a video series where we walk you through the need-to-knows about joint care. We talk about chronic joint pain, nonsurgical treatments, types of joint replacements, recovery and more.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Occasional aches and pains in your joints are normal, but the pain shouldn’t affect your ability to do everyday activities. Talk to a doctor about your symptoms if pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints makes it difficult for you to go about your daily routines. 

The only way to know if you need joint replacement surgery is to talk to an orthopedic surgeon. We’ll assess your condition and determine the best course of treatment.

In many cases, we can manage joint pain with nonsurgical treatments and will only guide you toward surgery when it’s the best possible option. 

No, you don’t need a referral to see an orthopedist. You can make an appointment with one of our joint care doctors directly.

We accept most health insurance plans, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, CIGNA, HealthPartners, Medica, Medicare, Medicare Advantage, PreferredOne and many others.

You can check with your insurance to see if your plan covers part or all of the services needed. Don’t have your card in front of you? Here are member services numbers to help you get started: