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Non-Surgical Treatment Options for Orthopedic Pain

Orthopedic pain can impact your daily life, but many conditions can be treated without surgery. Dr. Darwin McKnight, sports medicine physician at Tidelands Health Medical Park at The Market Common, discusses non-surgical treatment options for orthopedic pain.
Non-Surgical Treatment Options for Orthopedic Pain
Featured Speaker:
Darwin McKnight, MD
Dr. Darwin McKnight, who earned his medical degree from the University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences, is a sports medicine physician with a special interest in concussion management and orthobiologics.

Learn more about Dr. Darwin McKnight

Bill Klaproth (Host):  Bone and joint pain can keep you from enjoying the activities you love. It can even make it difficult to manage your daily life. The good news is, many orthopedic conditions and or injuries can be improved without surgery. So, let’s learn more about nonsurgical treatment options for orthopedic pain with Dr. Darwin McKnight, a Sports Medicine Physician at Tidelands Health. Dr. McKnight, what are the joint conditions that can be improved without surgery?

Darwin McKnight, MD (Guest):  Sure, thanks for having me. So, common joint conditions that are amenable to nonoperative care include neck pain, shoulder pain, back, hip, knee, ankle, thumb pain is another one that comes to mind. 

Host:  So, numerous conditions can be treated nonsurgically. So, I would imagine it’s better to see the doctor sooner than later to halt any potential progression or damage?

Dr. McKnight:  Any time you have any concern, or you are having some pain, or you are having some sort of limitation in doing what you want to do. If you have any questions, I think it’s best to see your doctor earlier rather than later. Oftentimes, you may be put into a situation where you are doing something that may be worsening your condition. 

Host:  Okay, so let’s talk about diagnosis when someone comes to you suffering from joint pain; what is the progression? How do you determine ultimately what that person is suffering from and then how do you develop that treatment plan?

Dr. McKnight:  We always start with the history and comprehensive physical exam. Sometimes there can be an acute injury or there can be chronic repetitive overload conditions that have contributed to this person’s presentation. So, after that, after we gather that information, we get an initial set of x-rays to see exactly what the anatomy looks like before we determine appropriate treatment course. 

Host:  So, let’s talk about the nonsurgical options that you may treat a patient with. 

Dr. McKnight:  Sure. So, we start with medications. There are various different kinds of medications we offer that I offer patients. NSAIDs are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories are one option. There is oral medications, topical medications and some transdermal routes that you can take as well. There is nonopioid medications for instance for back pain, gabapentin, Lyrica, Cymbalta, things of that sort. And then you have opioid medications that can be used acutely. I speak with my patients about herbal medications or supplements as well and then also I really like therapy, physical therapy is helpful for a lot of things as well either aquatic based or land based therapy. And then we have some bracing options as well. 

Host:  And then another treatment option I know is popular is injections. I fell and I hurt my knee and I have friends that say just go get an injection. So, can you tell us about the role injections play in nonsurgical treatment?

Dr. McKnight:  Yeah, injections are a good option for joint pain. We can use gel injections; we can use steroid injections both of which are really good at alleviating pain in various sites in the body. Some of my injections of which are done under ultrasound guidance. 

Host:  And then are there ways we can help prevent bone and joint pain?

Dr. McKnight:  So, the biggest thing is to make sure that your overall health is well. It starts by maintaining a healthy well balanced diet, making sure your weight stays within the normal range. Making sure you are staying hydrated and you are not exposing yourself to toxins like cigarette smoke and things like that which tend to have detrimental effects on not only your overall health but also your joint and bone health as well. 

Host:  So, earlier, we were talking about the importance of seeing the doctor sooner than later. When should someone make that decision, though? Is there a timeframe? If it’s been nagging for two weeks or a month, how does someone know okay, now it’s time for me to see the doctor?

Dr. McKnight:  I think that if you’ve had an acute injury, I think that that’s something that needs to be seen. If you’ve done something and you’ve hurt yourself then I think you should go and see the doctor sooner than later. Another thing too, is if you’ve had these nagging sort of injuries, you thought that you just you will fight through it and it’s just not getting better; whatever length of time that may be, that’s another reason to go and see the doctor. One thing in particular that stands out in mind is stress fractures. Oftentimes we have runner who just kind of run through things and then they have pain when they’re running, they try to rest and then they just keep going or they fight through it. and then it progresses to where they have pain even just kind of sitting and that’s something that you want to know sooner than later. 

Host:  Yeah, I would think you would want to know sooner than later and that’s a great point about the nagging injuries. If it’s been nagging a long time; that probably right, there along is enough reason to schedule an appointment with a physician. Any final thoughts or best advice as we wrap up Dr. McKnight on someone suffering from bone and joint pain and nonsurgical treatment?

Dr. McKnight:  I think that just have an open honest conversation with your doctor. There’s a lot of different treatment options that are out there short of surgery. And for some people surgery is not an option. So, don’t be afraid to have these conversations with your doctor. 

Host:  Thank you so much for talking with us about nonsurgical treatment options for orthopedic pain. We appreciate it Dr. McKnight. 

Dr. McKnight:  No problem, thanks.

Host:  That’s Dr. Darwin McKnight and for more information call 1-866-TIDELANDS to learn more or to schedule an appointment you can also find more information at And if you found this podcast helpful, please share it on your social channels and check out our full podcast library for topics of interest to you. This is Better Health Radio. I’m Bill Klaproth. Thanks for listening.