While conservative measures can often be successful in treating pain and keeping you active until the time of a joint replacement may be warranted, you may also find yourself needing to explore further options. You may not want to take medications (or do not tolerate them), may be too young for a joint replacement, or simply wish to trial more novel therapies before having such a major surgery. In any of those cases the main options include:
- Cortisone: The most well known option to many people, and is a potent anti-inflammatory. Effects are typically short lived however in specific situations it remains a good option.
- Viscosupplementation: Synvisc, Durolane and other hyaluronic acids are an additional tool in improving your arthritis pain. These are synthetic versions of our natural knee joint fluid. In a healthy knee synovial fluid is normally highly viscous (thick, jelly like material) that offers some buffering and transmission of joint forces among other functions. In osteoarthritis this breaks down to become more ‘watery’ and less functional. Reintroduction of this gel is well tolerated and a single injection into the joint has been shown to have long lasting improvement in pain and function.
- Blood injections / Platelet Rich Plasma: As a natural (autologous) therapy, this process involves taking a small amount of blood (usually about the same amount as a normal blood test), and reintroduction of only the platelet rich plasma component. Results are generally expected to be similar to the viscosupplementation with the majority of people having around 10 months pain and functional improvement.
We look forward to seeing you soon and discussing these options to keep you healthy, happy, and active.