Trigger Point Injections for Knee Pain

Trigger points in the leg play a large role in chronic knee pain, stiffness, and loss of motion. 

Knee pain is one of the most common causes of mobility issues and disability in adults over the age of 30. The pain can be so severe that it has become the leading cause for knee surgery worldwide, but this often comes with a slew of risks and side effects, leaving many knee pain sufferers to look for alternatives to help relieve their symptoms. 

Trigger point injections are a nonsurgical option that has been shown to effectively reduce pain and improve mobility issues. At KneeCare Clinics, we provide these injections under the care of trained physicians. Our team offers advanced diagnosis and pain management techniques and can recommend an insurance-covered trigger point treatment plan that targets muscle and knee pain. 

If you’ve tried other nonsurgical treatment methods but your pain continues to limit your daily activities, contact us to schedule an appointment for trigger point injections in St. Louis.

 

What are Trigger Point Injections?

A trigger point is a taut band of muscle that is tender and can hurt to the touch. The trigger points in the leg muscles can cause pain to nearby parts of the body—such as an arthritic knee joint— because they irritate the nerves around them. 

During trigger point injection procedures, a patient is assessed for myofascial pain syndrome, which is when trigger points stimulate pain responses in not just the affected muscle but other parts of the body. Symptoms include:

  • Aching leg muscle and knee joint pain that’s persistent and doesn’t get better
  • Muscle stiffness or weakness
  • Tender, tense knots along muscles that you can sometimes feel by touch
  • Pain that intensifies when moving or stretching the affected muscle
  • A limited range of motion

In many cases, treating the trigger points in the leg muscle may accelerate overall recovery. By relaxing the affected muscles, the injections are meant to interrupt the nerve signaling pathways that cause knee pain and, in turn, reduce the compounded discomfort from trigger points and knee arthritis.

While injections won’t cure the actual bone and tissue problems that are associated with arthritic conditions, it is a high-impact form of pain therapy that is a viable option for nearly any individual. Many patients with knee osteoarthritis not only experience relief from their knee pain but also:

  • Greater flexibility and range of motion
  • Increased energy
  • Better sleep
  • Improved mood

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How Trigger Point Injections Work

Trigger point injections work by going straight to the pressure point to relax the muscles. Once a knot is identified, the muscle requires decreasing of inflammation, stretching, and strengthening in order to regain elasticity. Trigger point injections consist of targeted medications, for example, anti-inflammatory medication, muscle relaxants, or pain relievers. When injected into a patient’s trigger point, they break the cycle of spasm and reduce pain. Here is how the procedure works:

Trigger point injections are relatively quick procedures performed during normal office visits. Before the procedure, nerve block will be administered by a trained professional to numb the area of needle penetration and keep you comfortable during the process. 

A small needle containing local anesthetic is injected into the trigger point. After the injection—which may cause mild pain for a short time—the trigger point becomes inactive and muscle pain is relieved almost immediately or within two to three days after treatment.

Numbness or bruising at the site of injection may persist for some time after the procedure. Applying moist heat and ice alternatively to the area will relieve the pain. Your doctor may recommend stretching exercises and physical therapy after trigger point injections.

Conditions We Treat

Bone on Bone

“Bone on bone” is another word for knee osteoarthritis. Over time, everyday wear and tear causes the cartilage in your knee to degenerate and become rough to the point of wearing away almost completely. When this happens, the rubbing inside of the joint creates a painful “bone on bone” sensation, which can be helped by trigger point injections.

Arthritis

There are more than 100 different kinds of arthritis including ones we treat every day like psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and post-traumatic arthritis. By going to the source and treating the trigger points that compound the pain of knee arthritis, injections may be able alleviate pain and speed recovery in patients no matter what kind of arthritis they suffer.

Bursitis

Performing repeated actions of the knee over time—such as constant kneeling—may cause bursitis on top of leg muscle problems. While home treatment may be the first line of defense, if the knee bursitis and muscle pain is persistent and not responding to these treatments, then trigger point injections may be a viable option.

When to Consider Trigger Point Injections

When suffering from pain associated with a trigger point, your provider is more likely to try manual manipulation, including massage, stretching, and physical therapy to treat the muscle and subsequent knee pain. However, when pain is no longer relieved with these manual therapies, many people turn to trigger point injections to reduce chronic pain without the use of surgery. 

Trigger point injections remain one of the most effective treatments for deactivating trigger points, and fortunately most people are candidates 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 trigger point 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:

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.

  • 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.

Trigger Point 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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