As medicine advances, we continue to find ways to help improve the lives of patients who suffer from a range of painful knee conditions, including arthritis. At The Patel Center for Functional Regeneration, we are passionate about providing our patients with the most cutting-edge, effective, and evidence-based treatments available. One of those treatments includes platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections; a minimally invasive procedure that more people are now turning to as a way to avoid surgery. PRP can assist patients in securing relief from the pain and discomfort that knee arthritis commonly causes.
There are many types of arthritis, but the two most common are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Both types target the joints, causing damage to the cartilage and bone. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that can involve multiple joints. Osteoarthritis is the more common degenerative joint disease that we associate with “wear and tear.” Fortunately, there are orthobiologic treatments that can help relieve the pain and encourage the body to heal itself.
What Is Knee Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition that involves the “wear and tear” of a joint. In the knee, osteoarthritis takes place over time, starting with natural degeneration of the meniscus shock absorbers of the knee, gradual wear of the smooth cartilage that covers the bones of the joint, and eventually changes to the bone itself. Osteoarthritis is quite common because it is the result of the body’s cartilage naturally breaking down over time. This breakdown can be heightened by age, weight, lifestyle, genetics, and in some cases, gender as women tend to be diagnosed with knee arthritis more often than men. But contrary to popular belief, osteoarthritis is oftentimes completely painless! People can live with osteoarthritis and have no pain whatsoever. In fact, we see patients who come to us with a painful knee, but it’s their other painless knee that has more arthritis!
What Causes Knee Osteoarthritis To Become Painful
Osteoarthritis can become painful for a variety of reasons, but at the root of the issue is that these knees have more of a challenging time recovering from an injury due to decreased biological health of the joint. Then, if we are moving abnormally or get an injury, it is easier for a joint with osteoarthritis to become and stay irritated.
Osteoarthritis is characterized by swelling and tenderness within the joints. Symptoms can include instability initially, and eventually stiffness and a decrease in range of motion. Over time, osteoarthritis can also progress to cause deformity of the joint.
Although osteoarthritis tends to affect older adults, young people can certainly be diagnosed with arthritis, especially those who may have suffered from a sports-related injury. Patients who are diagnosed with arthritis might find their typical activities and hobbies difficult to carry out or participate in, which ultimately affects an individual’s quality of life.
What Is Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)?
PRP is a type of orthobiologic treatment that utilizes the body’s own blood platelet growth factors to improve orthopedic conditions such as Knee Arthritis. Platelets are the cell fragments found in the blood that cause the clots when you cut yourself. When you have an injury, the platelets stop bleeding and then release growth factors which help promote healing. Tissue regeneration is stimulated by the platelet growth factors actually causing inflammation and then taking inflammation away. PRP or Platelet-Rich-Plasma is a highly concentrated solution of these platelets that are then injected with precise image guidance to an area of injury or degeneration.
Platelet-rich plasma is sourced from a patient’s own blood. Once the necessary amount of blood is drawn, the blood is processed in a way that creates a high concentration of platelets. PRP is then injected directly into the arthritic joint(s). Currently, there are nearly 50 randomized controlled trials comparing PRP to steroids, hyaluronic acid, and placebo, with the majority showing longer-lasting and more significant benefits. For more severe conditions, we can actually create different types of PRP for not only treating the inside of the joint but also the bone itself as well as the supportive soft tissue structures to address the joint as a whole functional unit. This comprehensive approach can often provide long-term results and even help slow down the progress of degeneration! And given that this is a non-invasive procedure, patients can resume their activities within a few weeks.
How Does PRP Help Treat Knee Arthritis?
PRP injections are a fairly new treatment option, but they show a lot of promise in their effectiveness. Clinical studies that have been conducted on PRP injections have indicated that these injections can reduce a patient’s pain, swelling, and/or tenderness. The injections may even improve overall joint function by accelerating the healing of soft tissue structures.
This type of treatment therapy might very well slow the progression or stop altogether the joint damage directly caused by arthritis.
What’s perhaps most interesting about this type of therapy is that it relies on the patient’s own blood to promote healing. And it makes sense, given all the natural healing properties present within the human body.
More clinical studies continue to be conducted on the effectiveness and healing properties of PRP, but so far, the research is optimistic and quite promising indeed. Dr. Patel’s PRP injection patients tend to report an overall improvement in their mobility as well as relief from the pain associated with knee osteoarthritis.
PRP Treatments at The Patel Center for Functional Regeneration
Alongside his team of regenerative medicine specialists, Dr. Shounuck Patel is proud to offer advanced cell therapy and platelet procedures. Trained as an Interventional Orthobiologics physician, Dr. Shounuck Patel takes great pride in providing each patient with an accurate diagnosis, a customized treatment plan, and access to state-of-the-art treatments that are safe and effective for treating knee arthritis in Newport Beach, Orange County.
Given the growing popularity of knee arthritis injections and patients’ interest in seeking alternatives to knee surgery, PRP treatments can be an effective way to treat knee arthritis for qualifying patients. Because The Patel Center for Functional Regeneration specializes in providing PRP injections and other cell therapies, patients can trust that we are well-versed in the proper training and protocols required.
If you are suffering from Osteoarthritic conditions and interested in exploring your options for non-surgical knee treatments in Newport Beach, CA, please contact our patient concierge team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for a preliminary candidacy review.