The first line of treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee aims to relieve pain and inflammation. Actual “healing” of a damaged joint is another matter and should not be confused with the former. There are a variety of substances your physician can use to aid the cartilage-damaged or arthritic knee. The various substances differ in their purpose and effect on the joint. Injectable options would include
- Isotonic Saline Lavage
- Hypertonic Solutions/Prolotherapy
- Steroid Solution (cortisone)
- Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)
- Stem Cells
The reduction of pain and inflammation may give the joint a chance to compensate in other ways. The removal of inflammatory molecules may assist the healing mileu with in the joint. Physical therapy tends to be more effective under comfortable conditions. To date, the actual healing of cartilage lesions through injectable treatment has not been conclusively demonstrated. Though still unproven, there is considerable interest in the orthopaedic community in PRP and stem cell treatment and the healing potential of these substances.