If you have knee osteoarthritis, the doctors at Jax Spine & Pain Centers can offer a variety of treatments to relieve your symptoms. One option is to inject medication into your knee.
There are different types of injections, and they are an important part of treating knee osteoarthritis for many people. Injections can be especially helpful for people who haven’t gotten relief from NSAIDs like ibuprofen, or people who can’t take those drugs due to side effects.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common form of arthritis that often affects the knees. It develops when the cartilage – the smooth covering that protects the bones in the joint – breaks down. The surface of the bones becomes damaged, causing pain, swelling, stiffness, and disability.
How Knee Injections Work
First, your doctor will give you a shot of anesthetic to numb your knee.
Next, your doctor may use a needle to draw out any extra fluid that’s in your knee.
After that, you’ll get the pain-relieving injection, usually just below your kneecap. The shot shouldn’t hurt, and the drug will work throughout the joint.
Different treatments have side effects that you should discuss with your doctor beforehand. The two most common types of knee injection for OA are corticosteroids and hyaluronic acid.
Reduce Inflammation With Steroids
Corticosteroid injections are useful for treating flare-ups of OA pain and swelling with fluid buildup in the knee.
These injections help relieve symptoms by reducing inflammation in the joint. But they’re not a perfect solution in every case. If you’re considering this treatment, keep this in mind:
Injections work quickly. These injections offer “very rapid” relief, usually within 24-to-48 hours.
The benefit is short-term. On average, the pain relief lasts from 6 to12 weeks. Often, that’s long enough to get you through a flare-up of osteoarthritis until your symptoms subside. You shouldn’t use them frequently. A corticosteroid shot often works best the first time – after that, they tend to give less relief.
In most cases, providers tell their patients they can use these shots two to three times a year. Using them too often may damage cells in the knee that make cartilage.