Knee pain is caused by a variety of reasons such as intense physical activity, heavy injuries, or sitting for a long period of time. It can even occur from conditions such as osteoarthritis, arthritis, jumper’s knee, or a torn meniscus. Knee pains aren’t due to any underlying diseases and it is common for individuals to get them as they age. However, sometimes knee pain can be severe which can disrupt one from their work and daily activities.
One common type of treatment for patients with Osteoarthritis is knee injections. Osteoarthritis is a condition where the cartilage of the knee breaks down in the knee and causes bone and joint damage. Even simple movements can cause trigger pain when someone has this condition. This condition mostly affects individuals over the age of 50, but it does also affect younger individuals but that is very low in statistics.
Most physicians recommend knee injection therapy before surgery. Orthopedists say injections can help alleviate pain, but they are not a cure to the condition. There are four kinds of injections orthopedic physicians recommend.
One type of injection is called corticosteroid injections. These injections are the common kind of knee injections that are given to patients. Physicians inject corticosteroid injections directly into the knee joint to help relieve knee pain and inflammation. High doses of corticosteroid injections can reduce inflammation and affect the immune system, for instance, it can control conditions where the immune system attacks it’s own tissues by mistake, like rheumatoid arthritis.
After receiving injections, the corticosteroid is absorbed in the bloodstream very rapidly and travels to the inflammation site. Depending on the condition of the knee, reduced pain can last from a couple of weeks to more than six months.
The doctor diagnoses the patient and gives recommendations on how often injections are needed. Common side effects from corticosteroid injections include joint infection, nerve damage, allergic reactions, thinning of the skin and soft tissue around the injection site, elevated blood sugar (if the patient is diabetic), and lightening of the skin around the injection site.
Another type of injection is called Hyaluronic acid injections (commonly known as HA injections) These injections are used when corticosteroid injections don’t work. If symptoms are severe than just typical knee pains, HA injections may be offered to the patient instead of corticosteroid injections.
Side effects for HA injections include 1 in 100 chance of an inflammatory reaction. This injection has milder side effects than corticosteroid injections. However, most insurance companies only approve of HA injections every six months.
The third type of injection is called planet rich plasma injections (commonly known as PRP injections). These injections are for treating osteoarthritis joint pain. These injections use the patient’s own blood and platelets to help heal. Cool, isn’t it? This is possible because platelets have growth factors and proteins that aid in soft healing tissues.
Side effects of this type of injection include a very low risk of infection and pain where the injection is given. The chances however are very low and doctors recommend patients stop oral anti-inflammatory medications if they plan on receiving this kind of knee injection.
Lastly, the fourth type of injection is called placental tissue matrix injections (commonly known as PTM injections). These injections are collected from placental tissue after a healthy baby is delivered from a healthy mother.
According to physicians, this kind of knee injection doesn’t have severe side effects because the tissue of the placenta is known to be immune-privileged, which means the body won’t have a critical reaction to it. However, one common side effect may be a very low risk of infection and mild pain where the injection is given.
These kinds of injections are known to reduce knee pain, but cannot guarantee if the pain will return soon after the injection is given. If injections and other therapy treatment options fail, the patient may have to undergo surgery and take strong medications. Everyone has a different experience so it is highly recommended to consult with a physician at Keystone Healthcare and discuss a treatment plan.