Comparing 3 Types of Knee Injections
Are you struggling with knee pain caused by osteoarthritis, tendonitis, or a torn ACL? If you’ve already tried oral medication without much success, or you prefer to avoid taking drugs, don’t resort to surgery just yet. Knee injections are a minimally invasive option that may effectively relieve your pain and restore mobility.
As you explore the different types of injections for knees, you may realize you have several options to choose from. Not every injection works for every situation, so it’s important to speak with your doctor to help you decide what treatment is best for you.
Explore the pros and cons of three types of knee injections available at Effective Integrative Healthcare, what to expect from each procedure, how long the results last, and other things you should know. We’ll also share which treatments complement knee injections to help you maximize your results.
Gel Knee Injections
Also known as viscosupplementation, gel knee injections contain hyaluronic acid, a material found in the natural synovial fluid of healthy joints. Synovial fluid cushions and lubricates your knees so you can walk freely and without pain.
People with osteoarthritis have watery synovial fluid. Gel injections help restore the proper viscosity for improved lubrication and shock absorption. In some cases, this therapy can stimulate the body to produce more natural hyaluronic acid. Gel injections for knees are usually fully or partially covered by insurance, making treatment more affordable.
What to Expect When Getting Gel Knee Injections
Before administering a gel knee injection, your doctor may drain excess fluid from the joint to relieve pressure and reduce swelling. Be aware that each treatment may involve one to five injections directly into the knee, depending on your condition and the product your doctor uses.
How Long Do Gel Knee Injections Last?
It can take several weeks for gel knee injections to take full effect. The results usually last four to six months, with some patients reporting reduced pain for up to a year.
Pros of Gel Knee Injections
- Medical professionals have offered gel knee injections for over 20 years without the adverse side effects of cortisone.
- Gel injections can reduce the need for pain medication and postpone knee surgery.
- If they work for you, gel injections can be a long-term solution for chronic knee pain.
Cons of Gel Knee Injections
- Minor side effects are possible, including temporary pain, slight swelling, redness and warmth, fluid retention, muscle pain, nausea, and headache.
- Joint pain and stiffness will eventually return, so multiple treatments are required.
Sarapin is a nontoxic, plant-based anti-inflammatory drug designed to treat joint pain caused by trigger points. Also known as muscle knots, trigger points may develop after an accident or sports injury or in response to poor posture. This small but chronic source of knee pain can cause incredible discomfort.
Sarapin contains unique biological compounds that block nerves from sending pain signals without affecting the nerves’ other functions. This allows the body to heal and repair itself while you relax pain-free. Ask your insurance provider if your plan covers trigger point injections.
What to Expect When Getting Sarapin Injections in the Knee
Depending on your treatment goals, your doctor may administer Sarapin directly to your aching joint or the surrounding soft tissue. You will then be asked to wait several minutes while the injection takes effect.
How Long Do Sarapin Injections Last?
Fast-acting trigger point injections take effect nearly immediately, and pain relief can last several weeks. There is no limit to the number of injections you can receive in a given time. Therefore, your doctor may recommend treatments anywhere from once a week to every six months based on the severity and type of condition you’re treating.
Pros of Sarapin Injections
- Sarapin is FDA-approved, meaning it has undergone rigorous tests and clinical trials to ensure its safety and efficacy.
- Sarapin takes the place of oral pain medication and muscle relaxers.
- This therapy may be effective for joint and soft tissue injuries that have not responded to other treatments.
- The injection is not painful, so no local anesthetic is required.
Cons of Sarapin Injections
- Minor side effects are possible, including temporary bruising, soreness, and a sensation of heaviness or heat at the injection site.
- Sarapin is not effective against inflammatory conditions like arthritis.
Also known as corticosteroids or steroid injections, cortisone is a potent anti-inflammatory medication. It is the most common knee injection used to treat osteoarthritis of the knee. Cortisone injections are often fully or partially covered by insurance, helping to keep the cost down.
What to Expect When Getting Cortisone Injections in the Knee
When you go in for cortisone injections, the doctor first numbs the trouble area using a local anesthetic. This ensures you feel no pain during the injection. There is no recovery time, so you can resume your normal activities right away.
How Long Do Cortisone Injections Last?
The effects of the local anesthetic may last up to 24 hours. Pain may then return until the cortisone starts working, which can take several days. Most patients enjoy six months of pain relief, though the shot can be repeated up to three or four times per year as needed.
Pros of Cortisone Injections
- Cortisone is more powerful and direct than oral anti-inflammatory medication.
- Cortisone injections can postpone knee surgery.
Cons of Cortisone Injections
- Repeated use can cause bone thinning, tendon weakening, cartilage loss, and nerve damage, so cortisone injections are not recommended for long-term use.
- Prolonged exposure to high cortisone levels can lead to Cushing’s syndrome, a disorder that causes the body to produce too much cortisol.
- Other possible side effects include a low risk of infection and allergic reaction.
- Cortisone can raise blood sugar levels, a concern for people with diabetes.
Because of the concerns surrounding cortisone injections and their limited efficacy, Effective Integrative Healthcare may only recommend this treatment for patients experiencing chronic joint pain that hasn’t responded to other therapies.
Things to Remember About Joint Injections
As you consider different joint injections and discuss treatment options with your doctor, it’s important to set reasonable expectations. Here’s what to keep in mind regarding injections for knee pain:
- Not everyone benefits: The results of knee injections vary greatly from person to person. Some people enjoy pain relief lasting an entire year, while others experience no relief at all. It’s also possible for the first round of injections to work well, followed by subsequent injections that prove less effective.
- Injections don’t always prevent surgery: For some patients, knee injections are a suitable alternative to surgery. But for others, it merely “buys time” before an impending surgical procedure. Still, even delaying surgery can be beneficial if you need more time to prepare or want to plan the timing better.
- Not all injections are covered by insurance: Every plan is a little different, so learn more about your coverage before assuming your knee injection costs.
- Injections are temporary: Even with their long-term healing potential, no knee injection is permanent. You will need to receive multiple treatments to continue enjoying pain relief.
Combine Knee Injections with Other Therapies
In short, if you have a knee injury or chronic knee pain, joint injections could benefit you. Still, you’ll experience the best results if you regard injections as one facet of your overall treatment strategy. The team at Effective Integrative Healthcare can help you compare complementary therapies for knee pain and recommend the best options for you. These may include:
- Chiropractic care: Knee injections get your pain under control, making it possible to address spinal alignment issues that may be contributing to the problem. This promotes further healing without aggravating your knee pain.
- Physical therapy: Don’t underestimate the importance of exercising and stretching an injured knee. A physical therapist can help restore mobility and relieve chronic pain with certain guided exercises.
- Massage therapy: Massaging, rubbing, and kneading your injured knee can improve circulation and reduce stiffness. Myofascial release is a particularly effective massage technique for treating trigger points, making it an excellent complement to trigger point (Sarapin) injections.
- Acupuncture: Inserting thin, sterile needles into your skin at specific points can improve circulation and energy flow to support the body’s self-healing properties. This therapy also releases endorphins, a natural pain reliever that may help with chronic joint pain.
Do you still have questions about knee injections? Are you ready to try this treatment and other natural therapies for yourself? If so, please reach out to Effective Integrative Healthcare, serving Crofton and Millersville, MD. Our friendly, personable staff and doctors are here to help relieve your pain, restore mobility, increase strength, and boost your overall wellness. We would be happy to explain our services in greater detail before you commit to treatment, so contact us today to schedule your free consultation.