Do you suffer from knee pain? You are not alone. Knee pain is one of the most common pain complaints in the U.S., and the number one reason for joint replacement surgery. Common treatments include exercise, pain medicines (Tylenol and Ibuprofen), and injections (steroids or Synvisc/Euflexxa).
If you continue to have knee pain, knee replacement surgery is an option you could discuss with an orthopedic surgeon. However, some patients are not ideal candidates for surgery either because they are too young (less than 60), too ill for surgery, or choose not to have surgery.
Now there is another option for persistent knee pain, radiofrequency ablation (RFA). The knee joint is supplied by six nerves (genicular nerves). If you disrupt the nerves, you can block the pain signals from the knee. The RFA procedure is done in two steps. The first step involves temporarily blocking the nerves in order to see if most of your knee pain goes away. If so, then you can proceed to the second step––radiofrequency lesioning (disrupting) the nerves that supply the knee. This lasts for 6 or more months and can be repeated if needed.
RFA of the knee does not affect the strength or range of motion and the patient may still have a knee replacement surgery in the future. To learn more about this exciting new option for knee pain, check out this article from the Journal of Pain, May 2011, by Choi, WJ:
Radiofrequency treatment relieves chronic knee osteoarthritis pain: a double-blind randomized controlled trial.
Valley Sports & Spine Clinic
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Dr. Ethan Colliver