Gel Injections Explained
A friend of your friend’s brother has just told you that he had rooster parts injected into his knee for arthritis and his pain has improved. Now it is time to ask your provider about other options for your knee pain. First a brief overview…
What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis (OA) or also called degenerative joint disease (DJD) is the most common type of arthritis and one of the most common causes of knee pain. It is estimated that more than 10 million people in the U.S. alone have OA in one or both knees.
If you have OA in your knee, the fluid (Synovial Fluid) that cushions and lubricates the joint can break down and lose the ability to cushion the knee. The cartilage protecting the ends of the bones can also deteriorate and then comes the dreaded saying “bone on bone” arthritis.
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
OA will typically gradually worsen over time. Symptoms may include:
• Pain during movement and/or at rest
• Grinding, popping, catching sensations in the joint
• Giving way when walking
• Stiffness and Joint swelling
• Loss of motion of the knee
There are several treatment options available to you for arthritis including:
- Medications- over the counter pills such as Tylenol or anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen or Aleve as well as supplements like Glucosamine Chondroitin can be considered.
- Steroid Injections- You provider may recommend this option for you to reduce pain and inflammation. Typically providers will limit the number of steroid injections due to the potential risk of cartilage damage with frequent, long term use.
- Visco supplementation – Visco injections are designed to lubricate the joint to provide relief of your arthritic pain by mimicking the synovial fluid in your joint. Typically insurance companies will not authorize this injection medication more than every 6 months. Some examples of these injection medications include: Synvisc/SynviscOne, Orthovisc, Euflexxa, Hyalgan and GelOne.
- Surgery- This option is considered when your knee pain is severe and other treatments have not provided relief.
It is important to discuss these options with your doctor to determine what the best treatment is for your condition.
Some varieties of visco supplementation injections are made from processed chicken or rooster combs and should not be used in people with egg or poultry allergies.
Occasionally, a severe reaction with swelling, redness, and pain, called a pseudoseptic reaction, can occur with some forms of these visco supplementation materials.
Other Side effects may occur and you should discuss these potential risks and the benefits of the injections with your provider.
written by: Amy Roberts MS, ATC/L
Kansas City Bone & Joint Clinic