Knee Joint Injections
Cortisone (Steroid) Injections
Cortisone is used to control inflammation of the knee joint in arthritis and other conditions. It decreased the pain in the joint by decreasing the inflammation. Local anesthetic is typically combined with the steroid. Patients often feel better after the injection due to the anesthetic, but the actual benefit of the cortisone may take up to 10 days. It is recommended that patients limit weight bearing activity for at least 2 days following an injection.
Although there is no limit to the amount of times that the knee joint can be injected with cortisone, the typical recommendation is no more than three times per year, per joint. There are several choices of steroid that can be used depending on physician preference. These include Kenalog, Depo-Medrol, and Celestone.
Potential side effects include increase pain or swelling of the joint for the first 24 hrs. Excessive redness and swelling of the knee joint may be a sign of infection and needs to be addressed immediately by contacting the physician
Hyaluronan (Orthovisc) Injections
Hyaluronan is present in normal joint fluid and responsible for the lubricating properties of normal joint fluid. The lubricating effects of joint fluid allow the cartilage surfaces of joints to glide upon each other in a smooth fashion. By injecting Orthovisc into a knee joint, this serves as a lubrication effect, somewhat similar to using “motor oil” in a car. Hyaluronan also has anti-inflammatory properties and my help protect remaining cartilage in the joint.
Although Orthovisc is the most common brand name of hyaluronan, other brands such as Synvisc, Euflexxa, and Supartz may be used. The Hyaluronan is typically administered as a series of three injections into the knee joint. Injections are spaced about one week apart. Most patients feel the greatest relief after 8-12 weeks following the third injection. These products have been shown to help alleviate arthritis symptoms for up to six months and help delay the need for knee replacement surgery.
There are few adverse side effects associated with the use of Orhtovisc injections in the knee joint. When a flare-up reaction does occur in the joint, it usually settles down within a few days. As always, signs of infection need to be immediately addressed by contacting your physician.
PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) Injections
PRP injections into the knee joint may facilitate the healing process following a knee injury. Platelet Rich Plasma is obtained from the patient’s own blood, placed in a Harvest Centrifuge, and separated into platelets, plasma, and blood cells. A small portion of the plasma is mixed with the platelets and this combination is injected into the knee joint with a syringe and needle. Most of the usage of PRP has been with sports injuries. The product accelerates the rate of soft tissue and bone healing following injury. Many athletes use PRP to speed recovery following a knee injury or torn meniscus.