Painful Arthritis Of The Knee

Issue 25.16

Arthritis is the number one cause of pain and disability in the United States, with osteoarthritis of the knee the most common type.  Arthritis affects nearly all adults to varying degrees as we age, and at least 10% of adults limit their activities due to the pain that arthritis causes. This can lead to difficulties with working, exercising, and enjoying leisure activities. It also can lead to a need for assistive devices, such as canes, braces, and walkers.

Although arthritis can be very painful and limiting, several treatment options are available that can reduce the severity of pain and increase function. Treatments can range from taking supplements, vitamins, and/or pain medications to undergoing various injections and procedures. Joint replacement surgery also can be a good option for the appropriate patient. There is also a procedure that cauterizes the sensory nerves of the knee to reduce pain. This is often used to treat knees that continue to cause pain despite surgery, or for those who cannot tolerate surgery due to health or other concerns.

There are three types of injections available that treat arthritis in different ways. Steroid injections can reduce pain quickly and dramatically by decreasing the inflammation caused by arthritis. However, for some, steroid injections do not last. Hyaluronic acid injections are another injection option that can reduce pain and, therefore, increase function. Hyaluronic acid is naturally found in joints in the fluid that lubricates joints, and it acts as both a pain reliever and a shock absorber.

The third type of injection is those considered regenerative medicine. These injections include using cells from the body to aid in the healing process and, thus, can reduce pain and increase function. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and stem cell injections fit into this realm of medicine. PRP injections are performed by using platelets from the patient’s own blood and injecting them into the joint. Platelets are known captains of the healing process and can recruit other healing cells and molecules to help reduce pain. Stem cells can be collected from the patient’s own bone marrow or from amniotic tissues or fat cells. Though our knowledge of stem cells is still increasing, stem cell injections show great promise in their ability to aid in the treatment of arthritis.

The pain management specialists at Southwest Spine and Pain Center are dedicated to helping those suffering from chronic pain conditions such as arthritis. If you suffer from arthritis or another painful condition, the team at Southwest Spine and Pain Center is here to help.

Bryt Christensen can be contacted at 435-656-2424.


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