Knee arthritis is a common condition that affects approximately 1 in 5 adults over the age of 45. Causing the cartilage of the knee to gradually wear away, the condition can cause pain, stiffness, and inflammation.
Patients have several treatment options to help manage and reduce the symptoms of this often-debilitating condition. Knee joint injections are one option available, helping to ease pain and reduce inflammation in the knee.
What are joint injections?
Joint injections contain steroids that prevent cells from releasing inflammation-causing chemicals. The steroids are injected directly into the capsule of the joint, where they get to work instantly. The result is a reduction in pain, allowing you to begin strengthening the joint through exercise.
While most patients will experience a reduction in pain, the problem could initially worsen for a few days. To reduce the risk of a flare up, a local anaesthetic will be provided alongside the injection. If the injection has been successful, you will experience the results within a week.
There are different types of joint injections you can have, including cortisone, Hyaluronic Acid, and PRP. Cortisone and Hyaluronic acid injections tend to be the better options, providing relief for a period of up to three-twelve months respectively.
Do knee joint injections come with risks?
Like most treatments, joint injections do come with a few risks. For example, while PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) injections can be effective, they should be used with caution due to a risk of potentially nasty side effects.
The main risks associated with joint injections include:
- Immunity suppression within the knee
You should avoid having any type of joint injection if you plan on having a knee replacement procedure in the next 12 months.
The overall risks of joint injections are low, but you should talk them through with a clinical specialist before deciding if they are right for you.
Am I an ideal candidate for joint injections?
Not all patients with knee arthritis are suitable for joint injection treatment. Those who have a prosthetic knee for example, won’t experience any relief. They will also be at a greater risk of developing an infection.
If there are already signs of an infection around the knee such as an abscess or boil, joint injections should also be avoided.
To get the best idea of whether joint injections could be the right option for you, book an appointment with Mr Jonathon Webb. He will assess your suitability, as well as help you to determine whether it is the best course of treatment. Keep in mind that joint injections provide temporary relief and will need to be topped up permanently.