When sore joints start complaining, it can be tempting to grab for whatever will give the quickest relief and let you get back to your favorite activities. Sometimes that’s not the best strategy. Pain-relieving medications and anti-inflammatory drugs may have unanticipated consequences.
Q. I am an avid tennis player but my knee is giving me trouble, probably because of arthritis. I stopped playing for a week, but I am desperate to get back on the courts.
My tennis partners suggested cortisone shots, but when I asked my doctor about these shots he was not enthusiastic. He wants me to give it a rest for a few more weeks. I am tempted to find another doctor who will cooperate. Your thoughts?
A. Pay attention to your doctor. A Danish study of 100 people found no benefit to a cortisone shot in the painful knee prior to exercise (JAMA Internal Medicine, June, 2015).
For a sprain or strain, rest can be helpful. For arthritis, it is important to keep moving, but keep it gentle so it doesn’t hurt too much. You might need to switch from singles to doubles, or modify your style of play so your knee doesn’t take quite as much of a beating.
You might also be interested in a home remedy that can help alleviate pain.