Knee Injection Therapy
Chronic knee pain is a serious medical problem that can limit your ability to fully experience and enjoy life. Such pain can be caused by a variety of factors, from injuries to inflammatory diseases. Osteoarthritis in particular, a painful condition which involves the breakdown of cartilage around the knee joint, often causes pain that is difficult to manage. As many as 40% of Americans older than 45 may suffer from this condition. While there is no cure for osteoarthritis, there are many proven methods to manage pain, alleviate swelling, and improve mobility. Sometimes when knee pain cannot be easily alleviated by self care, heat and ice, a knee brace, physical therapy, over the counter pain medications, or even prescription pain medications other treatments short of knee surgery become necessary. Research has found that knee injection therapy consistently provides the most pain relief for patients suffering from osteoarthritis. Knee injection therapy involves injecting the knee joint with an anesthetic, followed by substances such as hyaluronic acid or corticosteroids in order to alleviate pain and restore mobility for up to 6 months. Hyaluronic acid cushions and lubricates the joint while corticosteroids primarily reduce inflammation and swelling. Sometimes some fluid needs to be removed from the knees first to reduce swelling, a process known as fluid aspiration. Knee injections are done relatively quickly, usually only requiring a few minutes and efficiently provide temporary relief from knee pain and inflammatory diseases. Knee injections are not a surgical procedure, and can be done right in the doctor’s office.
Cortisone is a steroid naturally produced in the body during times of stress. Corticosteroid injection therapy involves injecting synthetically produced Cortisone into the knee joint. These injections are used to periodically reduce inflammation and fluid build up in the knee and to substantially reduce pain for up to three months. Corticosteroid injections typically involve only a single session and provide immediate temporary pain relief. Corticosteroid injections are given infrequently, to prevent damage to knee cells in the long term. Common corticosteroids used in knee injection therapy are methylprednisolone(Medrol) and triamcinolone (Aristocort, Aristospan, Clinacort, Kenalog, Triamcot, Triam-Forte, Triesence)
Hyaluronic Acid Injections
Also known as viscosupplementation, this treatment involves injecting the knee joint and removing some joint fluid while replacing it with healthy joint fluid, providing pain relief and improving mobility in the process. This newly injected joint fluid functions as a gel, actively preventing bones from scraping against each other and providing a cushioning effect. While the cushioning effect provided by viscosupplementation is temporary, the pain relief along with the accompanying reduction of inflammation can last much longer. Viscosupplementation is typically recommended for more long term relief. Depending on the joint fluid used, viscosupplementation can take several weekly sessions to ensure appropriate results. Common types of hyaluronic acid injections include sodium hyaluronate (Euflexxa, Hyalgan, Supartz), high-molecular-weight hyaluronan (Monovisc, Orthovisc), hylan G-F 20 (Synvisc, Synvisc One), and cross-liked hyaluronate (Gel-One). Treatments involving each of these substances can vary the number of sessions necessary and the potential side effects.
Of course it's always important to remember to take preventative measures to prevent long term knee pain. Actions such as prioritizing exercise activities that don't overburden the knees like swimming and staying at a healthy weight all contribute to long term knee care. However, some amount of knee strain is unavoidable and for times when pain becomes a critical problem, knee injection therapy can provide lasting relief.
Our office is happy to provide knee injection therapy to alleviate your symptoms and help you get back on your feet.