If you have knee osteoarthritis, doctors can offer a variety of treatments to relieve your symptoms. One option is to inject medication into your knee.
There are different types of injections, and they're an important part of treating knee osteoarthritis for many people, says Roy Altman, MD, an osteoarthritis expert at UCLA. Injections can be especially helpful for people who haven’t gotten relief from NSAIDs like ibuprofen, or people who can’t take those drugs due to side effects.
Here are simple ways you can ease osteoarthritis symptoms on your own, at home.
1. Stay active. Exercise may be the last thing you want to do when your arthritis hurts. But many studies show that physical activity is one of the best ways to improve your quality of life. Exercise boosts your energy. It can also strengthen your muscles and bones, and help keep your joints flexible. Try resistance training to build stronger muscles. Your muscles protect and support joints affected by arthritis...
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common form of arthritis that often affects the knees. It develops when the cartilage -- the smooth covering that protects the bones in the joint -- breaks down. The surface of the bones becomes damaged, causing pain, swelling, stiffness, and disability.
How Knee Injections Work
First, your doctor will give you a shot of anesthetic to numb your knee.
Next, your doctor may use a needle to draw out any extra fluid that's in your knee.
After that, you'll get the pain-relieving injection, usually just below your kneecap. The shot shouldn't hurt, and the drug will work throughout the joint, says John Richmond, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at the New England Baptist Hospital in Boston.
Different treatments have side effects that you should discuss with your doctor beforehand. The two most common types of knee injection for OA are corticosteroids and hyaluronic acid.
Reduce Inflammation With Steroids
Corticosteroid injections are useful for treating flare-ups of OA pain and swelling with fluid buildup in the knee, Richmond says.
These injections help relieve symptoms by reducing inflammation in the joint. But they’re not a perfect solution in every case. If you're considering this treatment, keep this in mind:
They work quickly. These injections offer “very rapid” relief, usually within 24 to 48 hours, Richmond says.
The benefit is short-term. On average, the pain relief lasts from 6 to12 weeks, Richmond says. Often, that’s long enough to get you through a flare-up of osteoarthritis until your symptoms subside.
You shouldn’t use them frequently. A corticosteroid shot often works best the first time, Altman says. After that, they tend to give less relief.
In most cases, Richmond tells his patients they can use these shots two to three times a year. Using them too often may damage cells in the knee that make cartilage.