Knee Joint Injections
Knee stiffness and pain can be hard to treat. Any medical knee condition can be lifestyle-limiting and may impact the body and emotional well-being. Some approaches to treat knee pain include exercises, weight management, physical therapy, medications, surgery, or injections. Below are the injections to treat knee joint pain;
Steroid injections ensure short-term pain relief. They immediately decrease inflammation when injected directly into the knee joint. It has fewer side effects as compared to steroid pills. A numbing agent mixed in with the steroid also assists in relieving pain. Its impact is short term around one to several weeks. However, a small percentage of people may not see tangible results from it. One can use these injections every 3 months, not too frequently. Experts do not suggest using these injections frequently because they speed up cartilage loss over time with repeated use.
Hyaluronic Acid Gel Injections
It is a natural lubricant and shock absorber inside the joints. However, the shocks wear out over time. Viscosupplementation injects hyaluronic acid gel into the joint to replace what is lost. Some examples are Synvisc, Hyalgan, and Euflexxa. The coverage for Viscosupplementation requires the provider to complete extra paperwork. A provider injects three to five doses into the knee once a week. The number of injections depends on the brand, while it takes various weeks for Viscosupplementation to help.
Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections
The liquid part of blood is plasma. Platelets are a common component in human blood that facilitate the formation of blood clots to stop bleeding. They have growth factors to help to heal. Platelet-rich-plasma (PRP) is plasma with more platelets. For PRP, the expert draws some blood from your body and spins it in the lab to enhance the concentration of platelets. They inject the PRP into the knee joint afterward. There are mixed results of this treatment. Some studies have shown improvement in pain, while there have been results where no noticeable change could be observed. Therefore, experts do not suggest PRP injections routinely.
Autologous Conditioned Serum Injections
Another type of knee joint injection is Autologous conditioned serum (ACS). It is made from your blood with high anti-inflammatory molecules. It is not easily available in the USA and is not FDA-approved. Some studies have established that it is effective, but experts do not suggest ACS due to limited data. No health insurance covers it, and it is more costly than PRP.
Stem Cell Injections
New tissues and cells come from stem cells. One can expect that stem cells will rebuild healthy joints. However, some studies should be conducted to see if stem cells are effective and safe for treating knee joints. Some concerns exist, like experts do not suggest stem cell injections. The FDA also warned about stem cell therapies based on efficacy and safety concerns.
Knee joint injections are tricky and have side effects. The best recommended till now is a steroid injection, but its impact is short-term. We need further research on other knee joint inoculations to better gauge their safety and effectiveness.