Im still waiting to hear that my Euflexxa order is in so that they can schedule my injections. Hopefully they will call in the next few days and get this started no later than sometime next week. I get similar questions about it when I'm going through the treatment, so I figured some Q&A in advance might be interesting.
[update: got the call and got them scheduled for Dec 12, 19, & 26]
What is Euflexxa? Is it cortisone? Euflexxa is a particular brand of hyaluronic acid, or joint fluid. It is not cortisone. HA is what naturally occurs in your joints as a lubricant. I will receive a series of three injections, a week apart, into the joint space of my left knee. It's not a fun procedure, but it beats a knee replacement!
What is wrong with your knee? I have osteoarthritis in my both knees. The cartilage is breaking down and I have a small bone spur in my left knee. The right knee has similar cartilage break down, but no bone spur. My left leg turns inward and my left knee is the one that bothers me at this point, probably because of extra force on the knee due to the biomechanical issue.
Is arthritis caused by running? Arthritis is a disease. Not everyone gets it. It's most common after age 45, which is roughly when it started causing problems for me. Exercise helps lubricate and strengthen the joint, but too much use can make worse. It's a fine line. It is doubtful that running is a much of a contributing factor in my case, I didn't start running until I was 40. My orthopedic encourages me to continue running, just short distances on soft surfaces and no hills. She also encourages cycling.
How long do you need to take a break from running once the injections start? Once the injections start, I need to take a break for about 2 months all together: the three weeks that I'm getting injections and the following 6 weeks while I wait for the medication to do it's magic. The break is not just from running, it's from anything strenuous involving my knee.
Do the injections work? I can't vouch for anyone else, but so far Euflexxa has proven to be an effective treatment for my particular left knee OA, and I have high hopes that it will work well once again. It's unfortunate that the effects wear off after a while, but I'm actually quite pleased that it worked for a full year this last time.
How do you know when it's time to request injections? The first sign seems to be that my knee feels like it needs to be oiled. It makes me think of the Tin Man from Wiz of Oz. If I ignore that for too long, my knee will begin to ache while walking/running, especially hills or stairs. After that, it just flat out hurts.
Is it wise for to even be considering a half marathon next year? I honestly don't know. When I talked with my orthopedic doc earlier in the year, she told me that my half marathon days were behind me. But I wasn't dabbling with the Galloway method at that time, so I plan to discuss this with her. She is a fan of easy/short running for my knee issue, but not long distance running. I'll have to clarify whether that includes long distance run/walking as well. My husband is not too please to hear that I'm even considering it. I have promised him that I won't pursue it if she says no or if I have any knee issues on long training runs. In the grand scheme of things, I know that it's not worth it if it causes further problems with my knee.
I think that about covers it. Do you have any questions that I have missed? Do you have any experiences of your own with HA injections or OA of the knee?