Arthritis is painful. And it can make it difficult for you to move your joints. When you do not move the joints enough, the ligaments, tendons, and muscles can shorten and weaken.
But injections in the knee can help you cope with pain and be more active.
The use of medication is still the most common and most effective means of treating knee pain. Most over the counter topical ointments and painkillers go a long way in relieving minor pain issues. For more severe pain brought on by conditions such as arthritis or tendinitis, stronger prescribed medication is required. One such medication is corticosteroid which is injected into the knee joint to stop arthritis flares and provide a few months of welcomed relief.
What injections are used for arthritis of the knee?
The most common injection for knee arthritis pain is an injection of steroids. It is also called a cortisone or corticosteroid injection. The pain of arthritis is caused by inflamed tissue, and the injection of steroids can help reduce inflammation.
Steroid injections can provide rapid pain relief. For some people, the relief lasts only a few weeks. Others get relief for 6 months or longer. And for some people, these injections do not help at all.
Another type of injection for osteoarthritis is an injection of hyaluronic acid. But most experts do not recommend that this injection is given. Many studies show that it does not help.
What are the side effects of injections for knee arthritis pain?
A common side effect of injections for arthritis is pain and swelling for a day or two after the injection. Applying ice in the home for 15 to 20 minutes may help.
Injecting something into a joint or a tendon carries a very small risk of damage, which includes:
- Damage to a tendon, ligament or nerve.
- Bleeding in the tissue.
Because of these risks, most doctors limit their patients to only a few steroid injections in a year.
Although these problems rarely occur, your doctor may mention them before you are injected into a joint.
It is an injection of a gel-like medication into the knee joint to supplement or replace the thick synovial fluid that cushions the joint. This treatment may help reduce arthritis pain. The doctor sterilizes the skin and then numbs up the area of injection.
The physician will then place a needle carefully into the knee joint space. At that point, the hyaluronic acid preparation is injected, which will then cushion the joint. A small bandage is applied after the knee injection is completed. Pain relief may occur right away, or it may take weeks.
The hyaluronic acid preparations come in numerous formulations and are named Synvisc, Hyalgan, etc. Synvisc is made up of salt water, and sodium hyaluronate. The hyaluronic acid part actually comes from the combs of chickens. When injected, there is no graft versus host true reaction.
The injections may be placed either in one injection or a series of injections. It used to be they all required multiple injections, but there is a new formula that provides the medication in a "long-lasting" preparation.
It is very important that the doctor sterilizes the area diligently. One of the complications that can be seen with these Knee injections Chicago is a pseudo infection where the area gets red, itchy, and painful. This typically goes away within a few days without antibiotics since it is not really an infection.