What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a condition that leads to damage and inflammation of a joint with resultant pain and disability. There are many things that contribute to the development of osteoarthritis including injury, genetics, diet, elevated BMI, and other medical conditions. Osteoarthritis can affect any joint but the knee is the most common joint to develop arthritis.

Prior to proper treatment, accurate diagnosis is key. Other problems affecting the specific joint need to be evaluated for and ruled out. These can include Rheumatoid Arthritis which is an autoimmune condition, gout, ligament/tendon injury, or fracture.

Standard Treatments

Early treatment involves rest, medications, physical therapy, and ice/heat. If more aggressive treatments are needed then injections of corticosteroids (cortisone) or hyaluronic acid (Synvisc/Orthovisc) are often used for large joints. If the arthritis is severe enough, some joints can undergo surgical intervention with an arthroplasty (joint replacement). Corticosteroids are known to be toxic to the joint and body in the long term. Nerve ablations can be performed on some joints with decent but temporary results. Joint replacement is a good treatment but does come with its own costs and risks.

Regenerative Medicine

Regenerative medicine has studied for years for managing pain from osteoarthritis. The knee is the most extensively studied due to it being the joint commonly most affected by osteoarthritis. Studies have demonstrated improvement in a patient’s pain, activity levels, and quality of life with these interventions. Platelet rich plasma (PRP) has been studied for soft tissue injuries, including ligaments and tendons, and for joint pain from mild osteoarthritis. With moderate or severe osteoarthritis, PRP has been shown to not be as helpful as other interventions such as bone marrow concentrate.