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Steroid use for knee osteoarthritis may make it worse, studies say

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Common treatments for some arthritis pain may actually be making the condition worse, according to two new studies.

“Knee osteoarthritis is one of the most chronic, degenerative and progressive diseases, affecting an estimated 800,000 people each year in the United States alone,” said the study’s lead author. Dr. Upasana Bharadwaj said.

Osteoarthritis is a common form of arthritis According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the cartilage within the joint breaks down over time, causing the bone around it to change and get worse over time.

Bharadwaj, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Radiology at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, added that at least 10% of the patients in the study used injections to manage their pain. He two of these pain management injections are corticosteroids, the more common of the two, hyaluronic acid.

the studyPresented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, the study found that some of these patients received no treatment, while others received injections of corticosteroids or hyaluronic acid.

Both papers found a statistically significant increase in progression of degenerative changes in knee cartilage over 2 years in those who received corticosteroid injections compared to those who received hyaluronic acid or no injections. is shown.

But just because the images look worse doesn’t mean people are in more pain, says Azad Dalbandi, lead author of another study.

“The knee may look bad on an x-ray, but the patient may not be getting worse,” added Darbandi, a researcher and medical student at the Rosalind Franklin College of Medicine and the Medical School of Chicago. rice field.

These studies highlight the debate about the role of changes in joint structure in the scientific community of osteoarthritis. Jason Kim, vice president of osteoarthritis research at the Arthritis Foundation, says the predominantly recognized symptom today is pain. Kim was not involved in either study.

The conclusion drawn from the research is that corticosteroids should be administered with caution in osteoarthritis pain.

Hyaluronic acid injections may be a promising option for pain management, but they are underutilized due to lack of research and the need for most patients to pay for them out of pocket.

“Perhaps hyaluronic acid injections need to be studied more thoroughly for pain management.

Corticosteroids are a quick way to relieve pain and control inflammation, but they may not be suitable for long-term treatment, says Kim. Because of the suppression, repeated injections could put patients at risk for other problems, such as infections, he said.

There are also people who do not see much benefit from steroid or hyaluronic acid injections, Kim added.

As a long-term strategy, Kim recommended building a team of trusted health care providers, including primary care physicians, orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists, nutritionists, and rheumatologists.

Managing body weight and body mass index (BMI) can help improve metabolic efficiency and reduce overall inflammation. added it Walking has been proven to improve arthritis.

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