Middle-aged men and women with osteoarthritis of the knee now have more options than ever before in terms of treatment methods that will allow them to remain active in the sports that they love.

The number of patients between the ages of 40 and 60 who are experiencing knee arthritis is growing. Unlike older patients, middle-aged patient population presents a unique set of treatment challenges.

Brian Feeley, M.D., assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery, University of California, San Francisco suggests five ways to approach osteoarthritis effectively:

1)Take control of the situation you find yourself In — understand the disease process and learn about different treatment options.

2)Work with your physician to come up with both short-term and long-term courses of treatment to help manage your symptoms early while maintaining the health of your knee and body for as long as possible.

3)Be flexible with your activities and do not put the exact same stress on the knee each day. In some cases, mild activity modification such as switching to more biking or swimming and less running may make a huge difference in the severity of symptoms. Trying new activities also can help keep morale high.

4)Don't be afraid to ask questions of your physician.

5)Look for a doctor who can help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of each treatment option, and who is willing to work with you to tailor a treatment strategy to your individual needs.

Even when surgery is necessary, proper follow-up treatment and physical therapy tailored to the patient's needs. This can go a long way toward keeping that patient active and satisfied in the long-term, says Dr. Feeley.