Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative condition where the cartilage that provides cushioning to the joint starts to wear.
A common way to treat symptoms of knee OA is by direct injection of supplements into the joint.
The most common supplements used are:
- Corticosteroids (CS) – steroids used to reduce inflammation
- Hyaluronic Acid (HA) – a sugar molecule found naturally in cartilage used to lubricate the joint
- Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) – platelets taking from your own blood to accelerate healing
Platelets are small fragments present in our blood that form clots to stop/prevent bleeding. They promote healing by recruiting growth factors to the area that stimulate the natural healing process in the body
The authors of a recent research study wanted to know how long the effects of these three common injections lasted.
To do this, the authors conducted a comprehensive review of all the relevant research studies in this area – called a “systematic review”.
They found 79 research studies that included 8,761 patients that fit their criteria.
What did they learn?
- All three types of injections were effective at reducing symptoms of pain and improving function
- CS and HA injections offered the best results at 4 – 6 weeks after treatment
- PRP injections offered the best long-term results, with patients reporting reduced pain and improved function even after 1 year
Edward S. Mojica, Danielle H. Markus, Anna M. Blaeser, Eoghan T. Hurley, Laith M. Jazrawi, Kirk A. Campbell, Eric J. Strauss. Estimated Time to Maximum Medical Improvement of Intra-articular Injections in the Treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis – A Systematic Review, Arthroscopy: The Journal of Arthroscopic & Related Surgery, 2021, ISSN 0749-8063, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arthro.2021.08.026.