Platelet Rich Plasma Injections for Knee Pain

Over the years, doctors have been looking for ways in which the body can heal itself rather than relying on the invasiveness of surgery to reduce knee pain. Platelet-rich plasma therapy has grown in popularity as a regenerative medicine that can harness your body’s own healing abilities and amplify natural growth factors to treat chronic conditions. 

According to a 2021 study, platelet rich plasma injections are a nonsurgical option that has been shown to effectively improve knee pain, stiffness, function, and disability levels compared to other injection treatments. In particular, knee osteoarthritis patients saw significant pain reduction and function improvement for up to one year after injection.

At KneeCare Clinics, we provide these injections under the care of trained physicians. Our team offers advanced diagnosis capabilities and can recommend an insurance-covered treatment plan using PRP injections in combination with other pain management techniques. If you’ve tried other nonsurgical methods but your pain continues to sideline you from doing the things you love, contact us to schedule an appointment for platelet rich plasma injections in St. Louis.

 

What are PRP Injections?

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections are a concentration of your own platelets that—when inserted directly into an affected area—will release cytokines, proteins, and other healing cofactors to empower your body to heal itself better and faster.

Plasma is the liquid portion of your blood, composed of water, protein, and thrombocytes that aid in blood clotting and healing. When a sample of blood is placed in a centrifuge and spun at high speed, the powerful plasma separates from the red blood cells. This plasma layer is then carefully extracted, concentrated into a syringe, and then injected into the injured or painful area. 

Platelet rich plasma therapy triggers and encourages the body’s natural processes of cell repair and healing, which is why this treatment falls under the category of regenerative medicine. Overall, it can be used to alleviate knee joint pain, sprains, strains, and conditions like osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and even alopecia. Not only are PRP injections found to reduce knee pain, but there is also evidence that it can delay the need for knee replacement surgery. For example, another 2021 study found that 74.1% of the patients were able to delay total knee replacement for more than 1.5 years, with an average delay of up to 5.3 years.

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How PRP Injections Work

In most cases, a PRP injection happens in a single office visit and can take between 45 and 90 minutes. The time involves collecting a small amount of blood and spinning it in a centrifuge to separate the platelets from the red cells. The collected platelets are then injected back into the knee to provide pain relief by way of repairing, regenerating, and replacing damaged tissue.  Here is how the procedure works:

Blood is drawn from your arm into a syringe and then processed using a centrifuge to separate the plasma. The collected sample is then prepared for injection by a trained physician at KneeCare Clinics.

An imaging device may be used to get a real-time image of the joint to guide the injection procedure. The surface of the knee is then cleaned with disinfectant and a needle with your platelet-rich plasma is inserted. Once injected, the needle is removed and the affected site is cleaned and bandaged.

There may be some slight sensitivity at the injection site, but this is typically short-lived. You are allowed to go home that day, but your doctor may advise you to avoid strenuous activity that puts weight on your knee to allow for optimal healing. You should also get plenty of rest and ice your knee as needed for comfort.

Conditions We Treat

Bone on Bone

“Bone on bone” is the painful sensation that results from the common condition of knee osteoarthritis. Over a period of years, daily wear and tear causes the cartilage in your knee to degenerate almost completely, causing a painful rubbing inside of the joint. PRP injections may be used to trigger natural cell renewal and regeneration that alleviates this pain.

Arthritis

At KneeCare Clinics, we know that there are more than 100 different kinds of arthritis affecting millions of Americans, but the most common knee conditions we treat include psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and post-traumatic arthritis. PRP can not only help alleviate the painful symptoms of arthritis but also delay the need for knee replacement surgery.

Bursitis

Over time, performing repeated actions of the knee such as constant kneeling may cause the bursae in the joint to become inflamed and painful. While home treatment may be the first line of defense to treat knee bursitis, if the condition stops responding to these treatments, then PRP injections may be a viable option.

When to Consider Platelet Rich Plasma Injections

Knee pain can result from many different catalysts, from arthritis to overuse injuries and basic genetic conditions. This pain may be light and no more than a simple annoyance, but in several situations, your knee pain may be chronic, severe, and affect your day-to-day routine. 

A lot of knee pain is simply biomechanical in which physical therapy can help dramatically. However, when the source of pain is biological (in the cartilage, muscle, tendon tissue itself) and the pain is no longer relieved with traditional methods, many people turn to PRP injections.

PRP injections are a great choice for those wanting to avoid surgery and are looking for a minimally-invasive recovery from the damaging effects of arthritis. Furthermore, the side effects of PRP injections are very limited. Since plasma is gathered from your own blood, there is virtually no risk of your body rejecting or reacting negatively, making many people a candidate for the procedure.

Your provider at KneeCare Clinics will perform a physical examination, review your x-rays and medical history, and discuss all other treatment options before considering PRP injections. Schedule your appointment now to see if you qualify!

Frequently Asked Questions

Question:

Are there any side effects with knee injections?

Answer:

There may be a little soreness at the injection site. Most patients report that soreness to be gone within 24-48 hours after the procedure.

Question:

How long does it take before I notice an improvement?

Answer:

Vast majority of our patients say they start to notice significant changes after their 2nd knee treatment.

Question:

How many Protein-Rich Plasma (PRP) injections will I need?

Answer:

Most patients need between 1 and 3 injections per knee.

Question:

What if I hate needles?

Answer:

Our physicians use 3 different agents to numb the joint before performing the injection. Most patients don’t even feel the procedure.

Question:

What if this treatment does not work?

Answer:

As in all of medicine, there are no guarantees that our therapies will work 100% of the time for 100% of our patients. If these conservative treatments are not effective then it may be time for a knee replacement or more aggressive procedures like a genicular nerve block or ablation.

Question:

What can I expect on the day of an injection?

Answer:

How long will it take? Will it hurt? Can I do any activity afterwards? Most patients tolerate knee injections with minimal discomfort as we use 3 different agents to numb the knee. The full procedure takes about 8-12 minutes. After a knee injection, plan to avoid high impact activities. It is safe to drive and continue with most daily activities. The knee may be sore after the injection for 24-48 hours, which ice can relieve. Most patients don’t notice any negative side effects after 1-2 days, if they experience any at all.

  • Are there any side effects with knee injections?

    There may be a little soreness at the injection site. Most patients report that soreness to be gone within 24-48 hours after the procedure.

  • How long does it take before I notice an improvement?

    Vast majority of our patients say they start to notice significant changes after their 2nd knee treatment.

  • How many Protein-Rich Plasma (PRP) injections will I need?

    Most patients need between 1 and 3 injections per knee.

  • What if I hate needles?

    Our physicians use 3 different agents to numb the joint before performing the injection. Most patients don’t even feel the procedure.

  • What if this treatment does not work?

    As in all of medicine, there are no guarantees that our therapies will work 100% of the time for 100% of our patients. If these conservative treatments are not effective then it may be time for a knee replacement or more aggressive procedures like a genicular nerve block or ablation.

  • What can I expect on the day of an injection?

    How long will it take? Will it hurt? Can I do any activity afterwards? Most patients tolerate knee injections with minimal discomfort as we use 3 different agents to numb the knee. The full procedure takes about 8-12 minutes. After a knee injection, plan to avoid high impact activities. It is safe to drive and continue with most daily activities. The knee may be sore after the injection for 24-48 hours, which ice can relieve. Most patients don’t notice any negative side effects after 1-2 days, if they experience any at all.

PRP Injections for a Better Quality of Life!

Reduce muscle spasms and knee pain in order to restore your quality of life! Trigger point injections can help you find a deeper level of enjoyment in your personal relationships, careers, hobbies. Contact KneeCare Clinics now or speak to our patient advocate to see how we can help!

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