If you’re experiencing knee pain that significantly impacts your daily activities and enjoyment of life, knee replacement surgery might have crossed your mind as a potential solution. However, it’s crucial to approach knee replacement as a last resort after exploring other alternatives, such as pain injections, physical therapy, and other conservation treatments.
Additionally, if you are relatively young, it’s important to consider that knee replacement may not be the optimal choice. This is because the lifespan of an artificial knee typically ranges from 15 to 20 years, after which revision surgery may be required. There are also certain significant risks to knee replacement surgery. Therefore, it is advisable to carefully evaluate all available options and consult with medical professionals to determine the most appropriate course of action for your specific situation.
Common Conditions That Might Not Require Knee Replacement Surgery
If you’re one of the millions of people who suffer from chronic and persistent knee arthritis, you may think that knee replacement surgery is your only option for relief. And while the surgery may be necessary in certain cases (which will be discussed further); Knee replacement surgery is not always necessary for individuals with knee pain. Mild to moderate osteoarthritis, ligament or tendon injuries, and bursitis are conditions that might not require knee replacement surgery. In these cases, non-surgical alternatives such as pain injections, physical therapy, and other conservative treatments may provide sufficient pain relief and improve joint function.
We have written a post on the things you can try at home to ease knee pain: click here to read
Non-Surgical Alternatives: A Safer Solution for Knee Pain
Non-surgical alternatives for knee pain offer the advantage of no downtime, allowing patients to receive treatment and resume their regular activities on the same day. These outpatient procedures are both safe and effective, making them ideal for individuals with busy schedules or those who rely on their mobility for work. By avoiding surgery, patients also eliminate the potential risks associated with surgical procedures, such as blood loss, infections, and anesthesia-related complications. Non-surgical treatments are often more affordable, widening accessibility to a broader range of people and addressing the underlying cause of knee pain, resulting in improved mobility, range of motion, and overall quality of life.
While there are many minimally invasive treatment options available, specialised pain injections – Myospan have been found to be especially helpful for certain knee conditions. Let’s take a look at 3 of the most common types of Myospan treatments that may be used together to treat knee pain and injuries in our clinics, as well as their unique effectiveness against specific knee conditions.
Coreflex is a type of pain injection that is directly administered to your knees. But what sets it apart from other pain injections is that it contains both a local anaesthetic and an anti-inflammatory agent (usually a long-acting steroid). The injection works by blocking pain signals and reducing inflammation in the affected knee area. The local anaesthetic also provides immediate pain relief by numbing the injection site, while the anti-inflammatory agent helps to reduce swelling and inflammation over time.
Lubricant Gel Injection (Intra-articular Injection/ Viscosupplementation)
Another common type of pain injection used as a non-surgical alternative to knee replacement surgery is the Lubricant Gel Injection. Also known as Viscosupplementation, it utilises hyaluronic acid (HA), a natural substance found in the synovial fluid of joints. HA provides lubrication and shock-absorbing properties to the knee joint, making it an ideal ingredient for this procedure.
This type of pain injection is commonly used to treat mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis, especially when conventional treatments such as exercise, weight loss, physical therapy, and simple pain medications have not produced sufficient pain relief for the patient. The benefits of viscosupplementation include pain reduction, improved mobility, and an overall improvement in the patient’s quality of life.
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) injection
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) injection is another type of pain injection that has become increasingly popular as a non-surgical alternative to knee replacement surgery. It is a type of non-surgical treatment that utilises the growth and healing factors found in your own blood to help repair injured soft tissues at the knee joint. For context, platelets in your blood contain various growth and healing factors that are essential for tissue repair and regeneration.
In addition to reducing inflammation and pain, PRP injections have also been shown to improve knee function and have the potential for tissue healing. PRP injections are often used to treat knee osteoarthritis, a condition where the cartilage that cushions the joints breaks down, causing pain and inflammation. They are also used to treat tendon tears, sprains, or injuries.
When should you have Knee Replacement?
When knee replacement surgery is deemed necessary, it is typically recommended only when an individual has severe late-stage knee joint wear and tear that significantly affects mobility and other daily activities, and which could not be effectively alleviated with non-surgical treatments (including the various knee injections as mentioned above).
These situations arise when the knee joint undergoes significant deterioration or damage, resulting in reduced mobility. In some cases, individuals may experience pain even during rest. To address these challenges, knee replacement surgery involves the utilisation of specialised components made of metal and plastic. These components are fitted onto the ends of the bones forming the knee joint, including the kneecap, allowing for the reconstruction of the knee joint and restoration of its function.
Common Conditions That Require Knee Replacement
The most common condition that requires knee replacement surgery is osteoarthritis, which is a type of degenerative joint disease that’s characterised by the degeneration of joint cartilage and the underlying bone. Severe osteoarthritis can cause severe knee pain that greatly limits daily activities (such as limited mobility). As such, in this case, knee replacement surgery may be the best option to help individuals restore mobility and reduce pain at a quicker rate.
When to see a Pain Doctor
If you are experiencing intense knee pain, are unable to bear weight on your knee, or notice any deformity in your knee, it’s crucial to seek the assistance of a Pain Doctor without delay.
Our Pain Doctors have extensive knowledge and training in diagnosing and treating various types of knee pain. They are able to thoroughly evaluate the underlying cause of your knee pain and recommend the appropriate treatment.
If you observe any signs of infection such as redness, warmth, or fever, it’s essential to seek immediate medical attention. Early intervention and treatment can prevent further damage to the knee joint and improve your overall quality of life. Ignoring pain symptoms or attempting to self-diagnose and treat them can lead to unnecessary suffering, worsen your condition, and potentially delay effective treatment.
Non-surgical alternatives such as pain injections can be effective in treating knee pain, and in many cases, can delay or even eliminate the need for knee replacement surgery. However, if these non-surgical options fail to provide relief, knee replacement surgery may be necessary to restore your mobility and reduce pain. Nonetheless, it’s best to discuss with a Pain Doctor to determine the best course of treatment(s) and method(s) to alleviate your knee pain.