Did you know that chronic knee pain affects more than 30 million people in the United States alone? If you have knee pain, you know it can be debilitating when it comes to trying to enjoy your daily life. Luckily, knee pain may not have to slow you down for long since there are treatment options available.
One of the treatment options that has recently been growing in popularity is the Durolane injection. You most likely have never heard of this treatment and you may be wondering what it is and how it can help with knee osteoarthritis and knee pain relief. Fortunately, you’ve clicked on the right article to have all your questions answered.
Here, we’ll explore what Durolane injections are, how they work, and how they might be able to help with knee pain recovery. First, however, let’s take a closer look at what osteoarthritis in the knee is and what is the root of your degenerated knees.
What Is Osteoarthritis in the Knees
It is mostly older people who develop osteoarthritis in their knees, but you might find it surprising that young people can develop it as well. The prevalence increases after the age of 45.
There is no exact cause of osteoarthritis, however, some believe that those who develop it young may have a genetic predisposition to it. Those who develop this condition later in life may have gotten it from an injury or being overweight since weight can strain the knees over time.
Osteoarthritis can start out as a dull pain in your knees which can slowly progress until it becomes too painful to walk or even stand. When you are unable to move on your own, this, of course, can give rise to many other health problems. The pain associated with osteoarthritis is due to how the cartilage and bone in your knees have worn down over time.
A healthy knee is surrounded by many pieces of cartilage that act as a cushion between your bones as you walk or run. The cartilage in your knee is essentially a shock absorber. However, as people get older and wear down this cartilage, the cartilage gets thinner and is unable to protect your knees as it did before.
When this starts to happen, your knee joints will not be able to move as swiftly and instead will be affected by friction. This friction can cause pain and inflammation in the area and sometimes even the formation of bone spurs. Women tend to be at a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis than men, as do people who put a lot of extra strain on their knees such as runners.
Treating Osteoarthritis in the Knees
Once you start to experience knee pain, it is important to have it diagnosed so then you can start looking for treatment options. Your doctor will examine your knees and maybe give you an X-ray or an MRI to get a better look at the anatomy of your knees. You should tell your doctor the details of your knee pain such as if certain things make the pain better or worse.
This information will make it harder for misdiagnoses to happen. Once you get a diagnosis of osteoarthritis, your doctor will likely tell you of certain things you can do to take the strain off of your knees. For example, since many people with chronic knee pain are overweight, losing that weight is an important first step as it will take a lot of the strain from the knees.
Exercise is essential as well, but this does not mean you should start jogging or jumping around considering the state of your knees. Instead, you should focus on low-impact exercises such as swimming and stretching. These exercises will introduce more mobility and flexibility into your knee joints which will help loosen them up and reduce inflammation.
For the same reason, physical therapy might be a good option. Physical therapists will be able to work with you one-on-one to make sure your knees are getting just what they need from stretching and exercise. Physical therapists can also teach you useful exercises that you can continue to do at home.
Over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol can treat your pain if it is mild. However, what should you do if you follow all this treatment advice and still have excruciating pain in your knees? The answer may be Durolane injections.
What Are Durolane Injections
In order to understand how Durolane injections work, we need to better understand the fluid within the knees that keeps the knee joints lubricated. Along with the cartilage in your knee joints that help to absorb shocks, there is also a thick fluid known as sodium hyaluronate. As your cartilage starts to wear down with age, so does sodium hyaluronate which can increase the friction in your knee joints and ultimately cause pain.
Durolane injections, on the other hand, are made with hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid, which is similar to sodium hyaluronate, also occurs within the body. Durolane is a thick gel meant to mimic the fluid in your knee joints and reduce friction and promote better shock absorption within the joints.
What makes Durolane injections any different from other hyaluronic acid injections, you might be wondering? Durolane differs because it is much more convenient than other kinds of injections in terms of how often you need the injections. For example, you would only need one Durolane injection every six months compared to multiple injections of other kinds in the same period of time.
When Durolane is injected into your knee joint, your bone and worn-down cartilage will no longer have the opportunity to rub against each other and create painful friction and inflammation. These injections, of course, are not a cure for osteoarthritis in the knees. However, they can help your knee osteoarthritis from getting worse and provide you with better knee pain relief.
For example, if you might need knee surgery at some time in the future, Durolane injections can help to delay the need for surgery.
Before Getting Durolane Injections
Before you go through with these injections, you need to make sure you are not allergic to hyaluronic acid. If you are allergic, you should not use Durolane but instead, look for alternative treatments that do not have hyaluronic acid. If your knee joint is infected or if you have an infection around the joint, you should not get Durolane injections until the infection heals.
You should also not get Durolane injections if you are younger than the age of 21. This is because there are no studies with Durolane on those who are 21 or younger. You should make sure to tell your doctor if you have any problems with your circulation or have ever had a blood clot.
You should also tell your doctor if you are pregnant as this may complicate the injections. If your knees are swollen or inflamed, your doctor may choose to drain any excess fluid in your joint before injecting the Durolane. If you do not have any of these other problems, you should be able to get Durolane injections without any problems.
You should also manage your expectations before you go through with Durolane injections. Durolane is not a cure for your osteoarthritis and you may not even feel immediate relief from your pain. Instead, you need to have patience and give the Durolane injections enough time to work inside your knee joints.
After all, it took many years for your knees to develop osteoarthritis. It only makes sense that treatments should take some time as well.
Getting Durolane Injections
When it comes to Durolane uses, Durolane is almost always used to treat osteoarthritis but it is not always used for the knees. Durolane can be used in other joints affected with osteoarthritis such as the hips and shoulders. Durolane is usually chosen as a treatment option if other options such as physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medications don’t work.
There are quite a few benefits when it comes to getting Durolane injections for your knees. For example, if you are not interested in taking medication, Durolane injections are a great way for you to remain drug-free. Durolane injections are also convenient to administer and they can be repeated if one shot isn’t enough for you.
The procedure itself is also very short and easy to get through. When visiting your doctor, your doctor will inject anesthesia into your knees so they will be numb to any pain. You will be awake for the procedure and the whole process should take no longer than 30 minutes.
Your doctor will use a single syringe containing about 3 milliliters of Durolane gel. 3 milliliters is considered to be a single dose of Durolane and each dose should be injected once into each knee joint. You should make sure that you get Durolane injections only from licensed medical professionals.
Before the injection, your doctor will clean the area of your knee to be injected so no bacteria can enter your knee joint. As your doctor injects the Durolane into your knee, you shouldn’t feel any pain or discomfort.
After the Durolane Injection
After the Durolane injections, your doctor may give you a pack of ice to apply over your knee. You will be transferred to a recovery area to make sure no serious side effects occur after the injections. As long as no side effects occur, you should be able to return home the same day as your procedure.
Your doctor or a nurse will bandage your knees before you go. You should avoid exercising for about two days after the procedure to ensure that the Durolane injections settle properly within your knee joints. You should also not stand in place for too long as this can also irritate your knee joints.
Instead, for the next few days, you should aim to keep pressure off of your knees and to keep ice packs on the joints to bring down any swelling or discomfort. Once you get your injections, you should start to see improvements in the pain and mobility of your knees after about two weeks. After your injections, you should not need another dose for about six months.
However, if you do not notice any improvements in the quality of your knees after two weeks or longer, you may return to your doctor for another dose. While this is not common, some who have badly degenerated knees may need more doses than others in order to get relief from their pain.
Are There Side Effects?
As with any kind of treatment, there are always some side effects to look out for. However, most side effects of Durolane are minor and go away on their own. Some common side effects include headache, muscle pain, and pain around the site of the injection.
As your body becomes accustomed to the Durolane, these side effects should disappear within a day or two. Rarer and more serious side effects can include hives, infection, and allergic reactions. For more serious side effects, medical care may be necessary.
It is important to keep in mind that the more serious side effects are very rare. Because of this, they should not scare you away from Durolane injections if you really need them.
Everything You Need to Know About The Durolane Injection for Degenerated Knees
By the end of this article, you should know everything about what a Durolane injection has to offer. If you suffer from osteoarthritis in your knees and nothing seems to help your pain, Durolane might be what you need.
To learn more, don’t hesitate to contact us here.