With joint and knee ailments, something as simple as getting out of bed every morning becomes painful. Finding pain relief becomes a priority when suffering from anything — from injured tendons and torn muscle tissues to arthritis and tendonitis.
Many remedies for short-term relief exist. Icing or heating the affected area, using a cane or walker to lessen pressure on knee joints, and using over-the-counter drugs like Advil and Ibuprofen is helpful for instant pain relief.
People also turn to surgery in hopes of permanent change. However, PRP knee injections are quickly turning into a long-term relief procedure.
How PRP Works for Knees
PRP (platelet-rich plasma) consists of plasma (a protein and water liquid that makes up 55% of blood in the body) and platelets. Platelets are healing blood cells that allow the body to recover from wounds by clotting blood.
Upon deciding on PRP knee injections, a doctor will take a sample of the patient’s blood to isolate its platelets and plasma. After numbing the affected area, the doctor will proceed by injecting the concentration into the joint. This procedure uses the patient’s healing system to fight musculoskeletal disorders.
Shortly after, swelling and stiffness in the knee joint are common. The swelling may take up to a week to subside. Once it does, cell growth begins, lessening knee pain.
Although the FDA has not yet approved plasma injections for the knee, studies show patients have diminished pain levels and more mobility at follow-up appointments.
How Effective and Safe Is PRP Treatment for Knee Pain
PRP knee injections are naturopathic, meaning it’s an alternative medicine that uses natural self-healing properties to enhance body functions. Because of this, experts believe platelet-rich plasma knee injections are relatively harmless compared to hyaluronic acid and other joint injections.
However, side effects may include pain at the injection site, nausea, fainting, headaches, and a quickening heartbeat. Nerve damage and infection around the injection site are also possible. Joint pain and stiffness are most common, although it’s usually a temporary result of the injection.
Still, plasma injections for the knee remain superior due to their outstanding healing properties with limited risks. As opposed to hyaluronic acid, a leading joint lubricant that reduces friction in the knee, PRP works to regenerate cell growth for longer effectiveness. As a result, PRP patients show little to no joint pain symptoms for up to a year.
Common Injuries That PRP Helps:
- Osteoarthritis: Cartilage around the joint begins to deteriorate, causing friction and stiffness. It usually affects major joints like the ankles, knees, shoulders, spine, and hips.
- Rotator cuff injuries: Rotator cuffs consist of muscles and tissues that allow rotation in the shoulder joints. A fall or stretch can strain or tear it, limiting motion range.
- Torn meniscus: If the rubbery meniscus cartilage between the shin and thigh bones tears, swelling and knee-extension difficulty ensues.
- Chronic knee pain: Occurs with heavy physical activity, leading to injury or conditions like arthritis, where bone cartilage diminishes. Mobility decreases as pain arises.
PRP Injection Knee Recovery Time
After receiving PRP knee injection, patients report a small amount of swelling in the knee joint. Although this can last up to a week, using ice or heat as desired can reduce inflammation. Doctors urge patients to ice the injection site for at least 20 minutes every three hours for the first few days.
Doctors also recommend taking part in regular activities as there are no movement restrictions during recovery. Still, patients should stay in tune with their bodies to prevent putting their joints under too much pressure. If pain levels are higher than 2/10, patients should reduce walking and consider crutches for a short period.
Plenty of rest and an occasional Tylenol can alleviate discomfort. However, patients should stay away from NSAIDs that can negate the effects of the injection. All in all, it may take up to a month to fully recover.
Schedule Your PRP Injection for Knee Now!
PRP knee injections are usually safe and effective with little downtime afterward and few side effects. However, since this experimental treatment isn’t approved for knee joints yet, many clinics can only offer it as an off-label procedure.
If you’re interested in PRP injections for your knee joints, ask your doctor if it’s right for you. At Port Orchard Natural Medicine, Dr. Rachel Robertson will discuss this naturopath procedure with you, walking you through the steps from drawing blood for a PRP injection to follow-up appointments. To inquire about our services, call today!