Types of injections for knee pain

Written by rebecca boardman
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Types of injections for knee pain
(Courtesy of http://www.waukeshafp.org/images/residents_faculty/injection.jpg)

Degenerative arthritis, or osteoarthritis, is one of the most common, and most painful diseases of the knee. In the elderly, or even young people who have been very active or suffered an injury, the knee joint can cause excruciating pain as the bone grinds against bone. Sprains, tears and pulls are regular offenders in the knee joint. When the damage is long term, as in the case of osteoarthritis, orthopaedic doctors will often try injections to relieve the pain before resorting to surgery. This article gives you some information on the different types of knee injections.

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Types

Cortisone is the most common injection for knee pain. Cortisone reduces inflammation, which is the main cause of pain in the knee joint. The relief can last from a few weeks, to several months. In most cases, the effects are felt within 24 hours. However, in some cases this injection does not provide any relief. Another type of injection is hyaluronic acid. This is a newer treatment and has had good success. Hyaluronic acid is a bio-lubricant. The injection is like "oiling" the joint. It can work from a few months up to a year.

Function

The function of injections to the knee are all essentially the same: to relieve pain and allow the joint to work properly, or at least to work without causing so much discomfort. Whether it is by reducing inflammation with corticosteroids, or by providing better motion by using bio-lubricants, injections in the knee joint serve to reduce pain and increase usability.

Benefits

Steroid injections, such as cortisone, reduce swelling and ease pain in the joint. The knee cam flex more normally. Activity which would have caused pain or been impossible before the injection can be resumed. An injection of a bio-lubricant can increase flexibility and reduce pain caused by osteoarthritis. The bones are lubricated so there is less grating on each other. One of the major benefits of injections in the knee are that they can decrease or eliminate the need for surgery.

Misconceptions

A common misconception is that knee injections are a cure for the underlying problem. At best, injections are a temporary fix for the symptoms of the disease or the injury. Even though the injections may help with pain, swelling and mobility, the effects will wear off.

Warning

There are some booklets and websites that give people instructions on how to inject themselves with these medications. Such actions can be hazardous. Hyaluronic acid can be bought for animals, and people will sometimes use it on themselves after self-diagnosing. The dangers of injecting steroids or other medications into a joint are huge. The result could be an infection that can cause bone death and the eventual destruction of the joint. It is not worth the risk. Get a proper diagnosis and rely on a medical professional to administer injections to the knee.

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