Two studies presented during the recent American College of Rheumatology annual meeting in San Francisco offer possible treatments for knee osteoarthritis.

The first study looked at steroid drug injections.

A research team led by Tim McAlindon, MD, MPH, chief of rheumatology at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, tracked outcomes for 140 people with knee arthritis who averaged 58 years of age. The participants received either injections of the steroid triamcinolone hexacetonide, or placebo injections of saline, every 3 months for 2 years.

The team noted that although the steroid injections were deemed to be safe, they did not improve the long-term outcomes of pain, mobility, or joint damage compared to the placebo, according to a media release from the American College of Rheumatology.

However, the researchers agree that steroid shots may have a place as a short-term method of pain relief. “Additionally, the dose was fairly small [40 milligrams], and we might have seen greater effects with a higher strength formulation,” McAlindon states in the release.

The second study examined the use of ozone gas injections into the arthritic knee as a treatment method.

Researchers Carlos Cesar Lopes de Jesus and Virginia Fernandes Moca Trevisani, of Federal University of Sao Paulo’s Paulista School of Medicine suggest that injections of ozone gas into the joint reduced pain and improved movement.

Their trial included 63 patients who received injections of ozone gas into the knee and a control group of 35 patients who received injections of just air.

The participants who received the ozone gas showed significant improvements in pain, physical function, overall health, and quality of life, compared to those in the control group. However, there were no major differences between the two groups in the amount of time it took them to stand up, walk, return, and sit, according to the researchers, in the release.

The researchers add in the release that further research is needed to confirm these findings and to determine whether ozone could offer an alternative treatment.

[Source(s): American College of Rheumatology, HealthDay]