Ibuprofen Vs. Acetaminophen For Knee Pain

If you suffer from chronic knee pain, then you have probably experimented with various types of knee pain treatment. Knee pain can be caused by arthritis, obesity, overuse, and cartilage problems. While treatment options typically depend on your diagnosis, they often include pain relief medications. Here are some things you need to know about ibuprofen and acetaminophen so that you can make an informed decision on which medication you should take for your knee pain.


Ibuprofen is classified as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID. It is effective in relieving pain and fever, and unlike acetaminophen, it is an excellent choice for treating inflammatory conditions of the joints and bones.

Knee pain is commonly associated with arthritic conditions or tendon problems, which often accompany both pain and swelling. While effective in treating knee pain, ibuprofen causes gastrointestinal problems such as acid reflux and nausea.

Other side effects of ibuprofen may include fluid retention, a temporary rise in blood pressure, excessive bruising, nosebleeds, and blood in the urine. If you take prescription, blood-thinning medication to lower your risk for heart attack and stroke, talk to your doctor before taking ibuprofen. Taking blood thinners with ibuprofen may further raise your risk for abnormal bleeding.


Acetaminophen is considered a safe and effective pain reliever, however, it is ineffective in treating inflammation of the knee that is associated with osteoarthritis, tendonitis, and rheumatoid arthritis, as it is not an anti-inflammatory drug.

If you have digestive problems such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, stomach ulcers, or heartburn, or if you take prescription anticoagulants, acetaminophen may be the right knee pain treatment for you.

It is typically gentle of the stomach, and it does not raise the risk for abnormal bleeding like ibuprofen can. It is important to note, however, that acetaminophen, if taken in large doses, can raise your risk for liver damage, especially if you consume alcohol on a regular basis. If you drink alcohol, or if you have a preexisting liver disorder such as cirrhosis, hepatitis, or fatty liver disease, ibuprofen may be safer than acetaminophen.

If you suffer from knee pain, consider the above information regarding both ibuprofen and acetaminophen, then make an appointment with your physician to learn about other knee pain treatment options. Pain relief medications, in conjunction with other interventions such as physical therapy and ice packs, can help improve your mobility, range-of-motion, and gait, so that you can enjoy your activities without knee pain.