Knee pain

Myth Busters: Only Surgery Can Fix Your Knee Pain 

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Chronic knee pain is more than just uncomfortable. For many, knee discomfort, osteoarthritis or bone-on-bone aching can be debilitating and prevent you from easily doing everyday activities such as getting out of bed, walking or completing chores. 

Strolling along the beach, playing sports or enjoying quality time with family now feels impossible, and you are left wondering how to find relief. While many people think that surgery is their only choice to resolve pain and restore mobility, this complex and often expensive decision is not your only option. In fact, there are more alternatives now than ever before. 

“When grappling with knee pain or deteriorating knee function, the assumption that surgery is the only solution is a common misconception,” says White-Wilson Pain Medicine Nurse Practitioner Trena Rios. “While at one point in time surgery was the only long-term relief offered, there are a lot of new options out there today that can be just as effective with significantly less expense and recovery.

The important thing to understand is that knee pain is a nuanced issue with a bunch of underlying causes,” emphasizes APRN Rios. “Just because surgery is right for one person doesn’t mean it’s the best option for someone else.” 

Doctors and patients agree that opting for surgery should be a final consideration after exploring other avenues, elaborates APRN Rios. While there is a prevailing notion that knee pain necessitates immediate surgery, that is just not the case. 

Thanks to developments in orthopedic medical practice, patients are now offered several new approaches for effectively managing knee discomfort or preserving and improving knee function. In fact, many health care providers recommend considering alternatives before going straight to surgery. 

  1. Holistic Evaluation – Talk with your health care provider for a comprehensive assessment to pinpoint the root cause of the knee pain. This often involves delving into factors such as joint inflammation, muscle imbalances and ligament issues. Surgery may not be imperative if these elements can be effectively addressed through other methods.
  2. Non-Surgical Approaches – Many cases of knee pain respond well to non-surgical interventions such as physical therapy, lifestyle adjustments, medical equipment and targeted exercises. These approaches can frequently alleviate pain and enhance functionality without resorting to invasive procedures. One example of a non-surgical approach is White-Wilson’s 5-Week Knee Program that combines lubricating injections with periods where a patient wears a brace over a span of a few weeks. 
  3. Pain Management Strategies – A broader exploration of pain management strategies exists that extends beyond surgery. This may include medications, injections or other therapeutic modalities designed to mitigate pain and improve mobility.
  4. Tailored Treatment Plans – Every patient is unique, and their knee pains may stem from different factors, so crafting treatment plans tailored to individual needs ensures a more personalized approach to knee pain management.

“Surgery is not a one-size-fits-all solution,” emphasizes APRN Rios. “It’s important to explore other options first and reserve surgical intervention for instances where other methods prove insufficient.”

Ultimately, APRN Rios explains that declines in function or knee pain doesn’t invariably demand surgery, and today’s new, alternative approaches should be explored before opting for a more invasive procedure. She encourages individuals struggling with pain to seek a comprehensive assessment and personalized treatment plan.


“By dispelling this myth that surgery is the only answer, patients can let go of some fears and make more informed decisions about their knee health and overall wellbeing,” says APRN Rios. “This is why we are proud at White-Wilson to now offer our patients a short, 5-week program focused on reducing knee pain without surgery.” 

APRN Rios stresses the importance of talking with a primary care provider or seeking advice from a pain management specialist to learn more about the new relief options available. To learn more about White-Wilson and treatment options, click here

Trena Rios, APRN, is a registered nurse practitioner at the White-Wilson Pain Medicine Clinic in Fort Walton beach. She believes that equipping patients with comprehensive information about their condition and using the latest, noninvasive treatment options can be key to restoring patients’ activity, comfort and quality of life. Learn more about APRN Rios and her approach to patient care here