Did you know that osteoarthritis in the knee affects one in every four people over the age of 60, as well as many younger people? Arthritic pain in a knee joint can not only cause considerable discomfort, but it can also limit your mobility.
Fortunately, there are ways to manage arthritis of the knee without resorting to invasive knee replacement surgery or pain medications that can become dangerously habit-forming. One of the more effective alternatives is a knee injection. While you might not be able to get rid of arthritis completely, a knee injection in the form of a cortisone shot or viscosupplementation can provide long-term relief from knee pain.
However, before you receive a knee injection, you may be wondering how much relief this treatment can provide – and how long the injection will last before you might need another.
Cortisone Shot vs. Viscosupplementation
A cortisone (steroid) shot is a powerful anti-inflammatory that usually contains a corticosteroid medication and a local anesthetic. Viscosupplementation, on the other hand, is an FDA-approved procedure that involves injecting hyaluronic acid, a gel-like fluid, directly into a painful joint. Hyaluronic acid is naturally produced by your body and found in your joints. It helps reduce friction that can occur during movement.
Viscosupplementation is specifically designed to supplement the fluid already present in your joint, thickening it and thereby providing the joint with more lubrication. This creates more cushioning, which improve your ability to move your knee joint without pain. Ongoing viscosupplementation injections can reduce the likelihood that you will need future knee surgery and is more effective the sooner you start treatment after your diagnosis.
While you and your doctor will need to determine which injection is best for you based on the stage of osteoarthritis you have, here is how long each injection typically lasts:
- Cortisone injections may provide temporary pain relief for anywhere from a few weeks to a few months
- Viscosupplementation typically provides up to six months of pain relief, after which time the procedure can be repeated to keep arthritic pain at bay
During an outpatient Viscosupplementation procedure, your doctor sterilizes the affected area and uses lidocaine to numb the injection site. In certain cases, imaging technology is used to enable your doctor to inject the hyaluronic acid into the precise location of your painful joint. If the excessive fluid is present in the joint, your doctor might remove a small amount of it before starting the injection process. Your doctor then injects the hyaluronic acid into the joint space via a needle attached to a syringe. Lastly, a small bandage is applied to the injection site.
Along with the injection treatment, your doctor may also recommend that you consider complementary treatments to boost the effectiveness of the knee injections, such as a weight-loss regimen, improved diet, a low-impact exercise routine, or knee bracing.
Knee Pain Treatment in Jacksonville, Florida
At NIVA Health, we offer a knee pain program that includes viscosupplementation as an effective way to manage arthritis pain. This outpatient treatment is conveniently available at any of our eight locations, including Jacksonville and Jacksonville Beach, Florida.
To learn more about our knee pain program and how our innovative therapies can successfully treat a wide range of acute and chronic ailments without medications and surgery, call your local NIVA Health Office, request an appointment, or sign up for a complimentary consultation to get started.