Your knees — you might not think much about them until they hurt, but we know they’re among the body’s unsung heroes. They bear your body weight and enable you to run, jump, sit, get into and out of your car, and climb stairs — and they do it all day, every day.
No wonder the knee is one of the first joints to succumb to degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis (OA). One of the most common joint disorders, OA affects 32.5 million adults.
Not too long ago, pain medication might have been your best option to manage your osteoarthritis symptoms. Not anymore. Advancements in pain management have made revolutionary treatments like platelet-rich plasma (PRP) more accessible.
So, this Arthritis Awareness Month, our team at Nebben Physical Medicine is proud to highlight this powerful treatment and what it can do for your arthritic knees.
A breakdown of your knees’ breakdown
Young, healthy joints come equipped with cartilage that cushions and protects your joints. Knee osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that's supposed to absorb shock in the knee joint gradually breaks down and causes the joint to become painful, swollen, and stiff.
Knee OA is a progressive disease that worsens over time. It can be stable for years, even decades, or accelerate in a few months. Many treatments are available, but PRP injections have gained popularity in recent years as a way to slow the progression of the disease.
What are PRP injections?
Platelet-rich plasma injections are a type of regenerative medicine that uses the power of your blood to encourage healing in your arthritic knees.
PRP injections work by stimulating the body's natural healing processes. The platelets in the PRP solution contain growth factors that promote new tissue and blood vessels, which can repair damaged cartilage in the knee joint.
These injections also have anti-inflammatory properties that reduce swelling and pain in the affected joint.
To create PRP, we take a small sample of your blood and process it in a centrifuge. The result is a concentrated solution of platelets, growth factors, and other healing substances. We then inject the solution into your knee (or knees).
Can PRP injections help slow the progression of knee OA?
While research is ongoing on the effectiveness of PRP injections for knee OA, recent studies show promising results. One found that patients who received PRP injections enjoyed significantly improved knee function and pain relief.
However, it's important to note that PRP injections may not work for everyone, and they’re not a cure for knee osteoarthritis. PRP injections may be more effective for patients with mild to moderate knee OA. More advanced cases may require surgery.
We don't recommend PRP injections if you have a bleeding disorder or take blood-thinning medications.
PRP injections are a promising treatment option for patients with knee OA who want to slow the progression of the disease and maintain pain-free function for as long as possible. If PRP isn’t a viable option for you, we can discuss your other treatment options.
We're committed to conservatively addressing your joint problems and helping you heal rather than temporarily masking your symptoms.
If you'd like to learn more about how knee OA can progress and see if you're a candidate for PRP injections, request an appointment online or over the phone at our Clarksville, Tennessee, office today.