Global prevalence and risk factors
Knee osteoarthritis or simply known as arthritis of knee is an age-related wear-and-tear or degenerative disease process. As we age, our joints take the brunt of all the trauma, damage and changes and knee being a weight-bearing joint, are the commonest site to get affected from this arthritis process.
The protective cartilage gets damaged, joint space gets narrowed, extra bony spurs appear in the joint line leading to pain, swelling, stiffness, reduced flexibility and later bending of the knee, known as varus/valgus deformity. More and more patients develop arthritis as they age, as it is directly related to advanced aging process. Female gender, obesity, joint injury, repetitive trauma to joint, surgery around joint, some genetic factors are potential risk factors.
Very few are modifiable risk factors and currently, there is no magic pill to prevent knee arthritis from happening. It has been found that more than 50% people with >60 years will get affected with arthritis but symptom severity vary from individual to individual. So, knee arthritis contributes towards major global health burden and patient suffering.
Currently, the mainstay of treatment for knee arthritis is analgesics (pain killers), topical creams, lifestyle changes, physiotherapy, various joint injections or periarticular interventions and lastly, knee replacement surgery. Analgesics provide short-term pain relief and if used in long-term can cause various side effects including gastric ulcer, gastritis, bleeding, kidney problem and few others.
In one survey, it was found that many patients in India misuse/abuse anti-inflammatory analgesics and use them as over-the-counter medicines which have significant long-term impact.
Knee joint injections and other non-surgical interventions are under-utilized as many patients are unaware of its benefit, and availability. Knee replacement is usually reserved for patients with advanced grade arthritis with varus deformity. This operation is costly and can be unaffordable for many patients. Hence, there is urgent need for other alternative treatments and/or non-surgical treatment options.
Non-surgical treatment options for knee osteoarthritis
Currently, worldwide there is a lot of emphasis on various alternative and non-surgical treatment options for managing knee osteoarthritis pain as the global disease burden is huge.
Following are various treatment options:
- Knee Joint Intra-articular injections- Platelet rich plasma, Viscosupplement (Hyaluronic Acid), Botox, Phototherapy, Corticosteroids
- Genicular Radiofrequency Ablation
What is Platelet Rich Plasma or Regenerative Therapy in Knee Osteoarthritis
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is the talk of the world for many degenerative conditions including knee arthritis pain, ligament, tendon sprain and tears as it has healing and regenerative capacity. To make it simple, PRP is a therapy which is taken from patients’ own blood. Human blood and bone marrow has strong component called growth factors which leads to new tissue formation over the already damaged tissue.
Click to watch video about Platelet Rich Plasma or Regenerative
Once patients own blood is collected, it is centrifuged in a specialized machine leading to separation of blood and finally production of high concentration of platelet-rich plasma. These PRP contains multiple growth factors which when injected into the damaged joints, tendons or ligaments, cause regeneration and formation of new tissue. As PRP is from patients’ own blood, it is devoid of any side effects.
In recent times, multiple clinical studies have consistently shown beneficial role of PRP in knee arthritis, shoulder pain from cuff tear, tennis elbow, heel pain, other tendon and soft tissue injuries.
We, at Neuron Pain Clinic provide these treatments with highest standard of care and use ultrasound guidance for the procedure to ensure accuracy and highest efficacy. Furthermore, other intra-articular procedures like hyaluronic acid, phototherapy and BOTOX injections are provided on a regular basis at our center.
Genicular Radiofrequency Ablation
This is another alternative procedure of around 10 years old and in last decade multiple research papers have come out in support of this alternative technique. A better form of this technique called Cooled Radiofrequency ablation is also FDA approved in USA.
Basically, the pain-sensation carrying nerves are coagulated at high temperature at 3 different locations around the knee joints. The procedure is devoid of any major complications.
These newer alternative procedures have given a ray of hope to many knee arthritis patients around the globe. Many such patients who are at high risk for surgery for various medical problems or even do not want to undergo surgery are opting for these procedures which is known to provide long-term good pain relief and better quality of life.
Connect with Top arthritis Specialist in Odisha Dr Rajendra Sahoo