The privilege of living longer is often accompanied by the inevitable aches and pains of older age and accumulated wear and tear on joints. Statistics are reflecting this unpleasant truth; the number of knee replacement surgeries being performed on seniors over the age of 65 has nearly doubled over the past several decades, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Many seniors suffer knee pain due to arthritis or torn cartilage and because adults are remaining more active in their 40s and 50s, along with growing numbers of older adults, more people over 65 who want to remain active are seeking treatment.
But before rushing to schedule surgery, there are a number of other treatment options that should be tried first.
- Try changing activity to something low-impact such as swimming, cycling or walking.
- By maintaining a healthy weight, the strain on joints can be lessened.
- Over-the-counter or prescription pain medications may be useful but talk with your doctor first about side-effects.
- Some doctors may prescribe steroid injections to reduce pain and inflammation, improving function.
- Arthrocentesis – joint fluid aspiration. By removing some of the excess fluid, pain and swelling can be quickly reduced.
In recent years, some people not ready to have knee replacement surgery have found success with “chicken shots” . Hyaluronic acid, derived from rooster or chicken combs, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat osteoarthritis pain in 1997 and since then, doctors have been warming up to using the treatment to help lubricate joints and act as a shock absorber. According to the Arthritis Foundation, some research is suggesting that hyaluronic acid injections may also help reduce inflammation and preserve cartilage.
Treatment with rooster comb shots takes time, usually weekly injections over a period of three to five weeks. Some physicians will combine the shots with corticosteroids for more immediate as well as longer lasting relief from pain.
To learn more, talk with your doctor about all the options as well as side-effects and risks. To learn more about recent research into injections for knee arthritis pain, visit the Cleveland Clinic’s Health Essentials by following this link.