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Many individuals suffer from knee joint pain caused by different factors. From knee osteoarthritis to severe pain from excess fluid or soft tissue injury.
Whatever the cause, knees can be highly life-limiting if you are in severe pain.
But it’s important to know that help is out there. Something that seems promising in the current medical world is called Hyaluronic Acid Injections, one of the treatment options (or management options) for knee osteoarthritis.
In theory, these lubricating ‘gel shots’ act precisely like the synovial fluid of the knee joint. They are natural in substance and an alternative to well-known cortisone injections or steroid injections.
In this blog post, I’ll transmit my knowledge on what are gel shots for the knee so you can use this information for your own decision-making. I hope you find it useful.
Joint fluid and arthritis pain
The main problem of an arthritic knee is the pain and limited range of motion caused by loss of cartilage and fluid in the knee joint – as a result of years of wear and tear on the knee.
This fluid and cartilage in the knee cannot be replaced per se. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.
This is why most arthritic joint treatment options aim to manage the pain – rather than ‘fix’ the root problem.
Knees don’t ‘just’ get arthritic, either.
It takes a lot to make it happen over the course of several years, even decades, and the bad news is often the damage is done before significant symptoms occur.
Meaning your knees can be damaged beyond reasonable repair before you even know about it.
In essence, there is no quick ‘fix’ for knee arthritis other than knee replacement surgery, which is risky and time-consuming, as well as affecting the quality of life in varying ways (mostly good but sometimes bad)
So now, onto the good news!
What are gel shots for the knee?
The promise of knee gel injections is something inspiring.
A gel shot for the knee is one of the various types of injections into the knee’s joint space, which acts as a substitute for worn-down cartilage and synovial fluid, helping the knee bones move easier.
Being a natural substance, this injection of hyaluronic acid aims to replace the lost ‘cushioning effect’ from cartilage breakdown. Whereas platelet-rich plasma injections look to regenerate the lost tissue.
Theoretically, this would minimize pain and discomfort surrounding an affected joint and promote better movement and flexibility.
The usual procedure of gel shots happens over several hyaluronate injections. So, it’s typically done as a set of injections rather than just one single injection.
Reports from patients who’ve had gel injection treatment are overall positive.
Many patients say that they feel immediate relief from the pain of an arthritic knee and that the relief lasts for several months, giving a real boost to their quality of life.
The gel-like substance of gel shots injected into the knee may offer good relief from the discomfort of joint pain. But it won’t last forever, nor is it designed to.
A hyaluronate injection is only meant to offer short to medium-term relief. The same goes for corticosteroid injections.
These are less invasive treatments than a total knee replacement and have fewer side effects.
For chronic knee pain, having a series of injections can be an answer and may provide the solution the patient seeks.
Saying this, lifestyle changes such as scaling back intensive exercise and allowing more time for rest would be equally welcomed.
The most effective treatment for an arthritic knee is to allow it to rest and not get any worse than it is already.
So, if you’re dealing with arthritis in your knee joint, remember rest is crucial and will pay off in the long run.
As with any procedure, there are risks involved. The good thing about a hyaluronic acid injection is it’s a naturally occurring substance that the body shouldn’t (in theory) reject it.
If anything, the body would readily accept it, over and above routine cortisone shots.
Your orthopedic doctor will likely check whether you’re suitable for the type of injection they’ve prescribed.
If you’re on blood thinners or other medications, be sure to declare that at the time of the procedure if not before.
Some pain will be felt at the injection site when simple analgesics are administered. This is to numb the pain of the injection once it reaches the joint.
A knee injection is generally an outpatient procedure with minimal disruption to your day. You will likely be home the same afternoon the injection is performed.
It may take a few days for the affected knee to feel different. Of course, there are cases where no improvement is felt, and in this case, alternative management should be considered.
Try not to overwork your knee if you have an injection, whether it’s a gel shot or a corticosteroid.
The aim is to allow the knee function to improve, too, but to do this, the knee needs rest time.
You could also talk about anti-inflammatory medications with your medical doctor to understand if this is something to alleviate the discomfort of knee OA and the subsequent injection.
Be reassured that knee injections are a standard treatment for osteoarthritis patients and are usually suggested as low-risk, nonsurgical treatment methods.
If you’d like to discuss the option of gel shots for the knee, be sure to contact your medical doctor for appropriate advice and onward medical referral.
I hope you found this post helpful. Be sure to check out my other posts on knee problems and solutions.