Botox May Cut Knee Osteoarthritis Pain
Study Shows Injecting Botox May End or Delay Need for Joint Replacement Surgery
How Safe Is Botox?
Safe treatments are desperately needed for people with knee
"This is an exciting new approach to knee pain due to OA," she says.
"Total joint replacement has been the single greatest advance for relieving
the pain of OA, but not all patients are candidates."
Some people with knee osteoarthritis are too young for the surgery and
others are too old. In addition, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which
are commonly taken to relieve the pain of knee osteoarthritis, are not without
risks, such as gastrointestinal problems and increased risk of heart
attack or stroke. There are also
risks from long-term use of opioid pain killers, including risk of
The Botox treatment seems to be extremely safe, she says.
Muscle weakness can occur when Botox shots are used to treat cervical
dystonia, but such effects were not seen when the toxin was injected into the
knee joint. "Since we are not injecting it into the muscle, we do not see
any weakness to the limb," she says. "We use a very small dose and
there are no significant adverse effects due to injection."
Shreyasee Amin, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in
Rochester, Minn., tells WebMD that "this is an intriguing finding and Botox
could have a role in patients who have risk factors or contraindications to
knee surgery. And if it doesn't have side effects to knee strength, it would be
Robert L. Wortmann, MD, professor and chairman of the department of
rheumatology at the University of Oklahoma in Tulsa, agrees. "It's too
early to say for sure what role injections of Botox may play in knee OA,"
he says. "But having the possibility of something that may alter the course
or pain levels for a disease to which there is no known cure is really
He adds that "if it does have a positive effect in knee OA, it will
likely have an effect in hip OA as well."