It was the 50s when famous comedian, Jack Benny, received an award and opened his acceptance speech with, “I don’t deserve this award, but I have arthritis, and I don’t deserve that either.” Since then, advancements in medicine and technology have provided relief for millions of people with arthritis, but more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions still impact Americans today.
One of the more serious conditions is osteoarthritis. That’s because the chronic condition worsens over time — deteriorating cartilage and causing pain and swelling. While there is no way to reverse the damage, today’s medical advancements make it possible to retain cartilage or replace the tissue with a more stable solution — such as a partial or total knee replacement surgery. But, surgery isn’t right for everyone, and sometimes injections are a better alternative. What are they, and what can you expect from a knee injection?
Types of Knee Injections
One of the biggest battles with osteoarthritis is that exercise and diet play a pivotal role in slowing progression, but the condition itself causes so much pain that it becomes a barrier for those trying to exercise and relieve symptoms. Knee injections are designed to reduce the symptoms associated with osteoarthritis and to help make movement easier.
While there are several different injections, the most common include:
- Corticosteroids: Used to reduce pain and swelling.
- Hyaluronic acid: Used to coat cartilage.
When Should You Consider a Knee Injection?
There are four stages of osteoarthritis, ranging from zero to four. The level of pain experienced differs for each stage — with one being minor and four being severe. Since symptoms don’t typically begin producing until Stage 2, it may take time and patience trying other alternatives before considering injections. From exercising on your own and changing your diet to integrating physical therapy early, these options may be enough to relieve your symptoms. If you’ve attempted these alternatives for pain relief and your pain increasingly becomes more moderate to severe, you should talk to your doctor about knee injections. They’ll be able to evaluate your medical history and condition to determine if knee injections are the right next step.
Do Knee Injections Hurt?
Receiving knee injections is similar to receiving any other kind of shot. There may be a slight pinch followed by mild discomfort, but overall the injection takes very little time and isn’t very painful.
What to Expect After a Knee Injection
For the few days following the injection, you should refrain from straining your knee. During this time, your knee may be tender or sore. If you have any concerns — especially with driving — you should talk to your doctor before your injection appointment. Depending on the type of injection you received, you may experience relief anywhere from immediately following your appointment to five weeks after.
How Often Do You Need Knee Injections?
How often you need a knee injection depends on several factors. Some of them include:
- Medical history
- Family history
- Severity of pain
- Stage of your condition
- How long your relief lasts
A corticosteroid injection may provide relief for up to 24 weeks, while a hyaluronic acid injection may last 12 to 24 weeks. Corticosteroid injections can only be administered once every three to four months. That’s because they can break down your cartilage and come with possible side effects — including high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and skin atrophy.
In comparison, hyaluronic acid injections may not work for everyone, and how they’re administered varies depending on the manufacturer. To determine the best solution for your osteoarthritis, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of each injection.
Schedule an Appointment at The Orthopedic Clinic Today
At The Orthopedic Clinic, we want you to live your life in full motion. If you suffer from osteoarthritis pain and it’s making your life uncomfortable, let us help you. We’ll tailor a treatment plan that’s best for your lifestyle and get you back to doing the things you love. With six convenient locations, we provide quality orthopedic care and interventional pain management services to patients in Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach, Port Orange, Palm Coast, and New Smyrna Beach.
Call us at (386) 255-4596 to schedule an appointment.