Inflammation in the body is a common response to damage. When the body is injured, it releases chemicals and white blood cells to heal and rebuild. Chronic inflammation is when the body’s inflammatory response is abnormal and goes on for longer than it should. In this situation, inflammation happens even when there is no injury.
Some conditions that cause chronic inflammation include infections and obesity. A long-term inflammatory environment in the knee joint is also behind knee problems such as osteoarthritis. According to the National Cancer Institute, chronic inflammation can even lead to DNA damage which can cause cancer.
A 2016 study found that running can decrease inflammation in younger and healthy people by decreasing the signals that cause inflammation. Cytokines are chemicals that are released after injury or in chronic inflammation. The two cytokines looked at in this study are called GM-CSF and IL-15. These markers decreased in fluid from the knee joints of healthy participants after they ran for 30 minutes. The study also found a lower concentration of COMP (cartilage oligomeric matrix protein) in the joints of healthy participants after running. COMP indicates cartilage turnover and increases found in damaged knee joints.
Two of the most popular injection therapies that Reflex offers are hyaluronic acid (HA) and platelet-rich plasma (PRP). Both of these therapies fight inflammation.
HA is part of knee joint fluid and is decreased in damaged knees. HA is thought to suppress inflammatory reactions in joints. This is done by blocking things that break down HA and cartilage such as matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). HA also supports the knee joint at the microscopic level by increasing building blocks such as proteoglycans. HA is a standard treatment that is also covered by most insurance providers.
PRP therapy also decreases inflammation. PRP decreases things that cause inflammation, such as the recruitment and sticking of white blood cells to injured joints. PRP also works to shut down the inflammation response by promoting a healthy joint through growth factors. PRP’s advantages over HA include the production of more HA in the joint.
Inflammation is an important cause of the pain and discomfort that patients with joint and tendon problems experience. By treating inflammation, we are able to give our patients’ a better quality of life and allow them to get back to their daily activities.
Schedule an evaluation to learn more about our non-surgical treatment options for knee pain.