What to do when your knee's giving you 'stick' - Read on to learn how a veteran hockey player decided to try hydrogel injections following years of joint pain exacerbated by the game he loves
Read the full story of Dr. Jack, a veteran hockey player decided to try hydrogel injections after years of joint pain.
Dr. Jack Edmonds is one of the first patients in the UK to have opted for a new treatment to help ease the pain caused by knee osteoarthritis, using a novel hydrogel [single] injection called Arthrosamid® Following great success in Europe, the procedure has recently been introduced to a select number of clinics in the UK, with a growing number of patients reporting a noticeable improvement to their comfort and quality of life.
A leading Harley Street doctor, Jack has also spent much of his life and leisure time involved with the fast-paced and often very intense game of hockey, playing at a high level for many years and continuing to represent local Clubs in Kent and South-East London well into his 60s.
However, decades of putting pressure on ‘bent knees’ (with sharp turns and sudden sprints up and down the pitch, combined with a life-long love of skiing) started to take its toll on Jack’s joints. The pain – which had initially been brushed off as ‘wear and tear’ – was soon affecting his ability to play hockey, as well as having an increasing impact on everyday activities, such as walking the dog or climbing up and down the stairs.
“One of the main reasons that finally prompted me to explore treatments as a matter of priority, was an overwhelming desire to cut down on the use of over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory medication,” explains Dr Jack. “Although I’m very aware this is often the only option available to many people suffering from the pain caused by osteoarthritis in their knees.”
Interestingly, a UK-wide survey* commissioned by Contura Orthopaedics Ltd, revealed that 68% of people questioned said they would be concerned about using painkillers on a long-term basis to help manage a condition causing chronic pain.
Dr Jack was able to seek the advice of esteemed medical colleagues regarding the treatment options for joint pain available and gauge professional opinion on the best course of action – all with the same goal of “warding off the inevitable knee replacement surgery”. Having already undergone surgical treatments for torn cartilage and an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury in his 20s, he was keen to avoid further operations until necessary.
“Maybe it’s an occupational hazard as a physician, but a good understanding of any potential risks and the relative success rates was a vital part of my decision-making process. I knew of lots of friends and teammates who’d had a variety of treatments for painful knees, but I was really keen to see some evidence and ‘science’ behind the procedures.”
“I always urge people – friends and patients – to do their own research and to have a good think about treatments when they are apparently ‘new’. Therefore, when Arthrosamid injections were first suggested to me, I really looked into it but soon decided that it felt [like] a safe and effective treatment option and that there was ‘enough science’ for me!
“I also had a great deal of respect and faith in the physician who I knew would be carrying out the procedure, Prof Paul Lee, and was extremely impressed at the way he’d helped to pioneer the treatment in the UK”.
Professor Paul Lee, sports and orthopaedic surgeon from MSK Doctors treated Jack at his London clinic, based at 108 Harley Street. Professor Lee and his team are renowned for bringing well-evidenced but novel treatments to the practice to help patients manage pain from long term conditions such as knee osteoarthritis. Speaking about Arthrosamid®, Professor Lee comments:
“In my practice, I’m passionate about utilising evidenced-based methods with advanced technology – and Arthrosamid® certainly fits into this novel treatment model. Knee osteoarthritis can have a significant impact on a patient’s quality of life, causing discomfort which can make everyday activities challenging. However, many people are reluctant to undergo invasive surgery with the intensive recovery required.
“I was pleased that Jack had confidence in the procedure and understood the benefits it [could] bring to patients who are seeking solutions for persistent pain in their knee joints, many of whom – like Jack – will have incurred ‘wear and tear’ and injury having played competitive sports from a young age. This treatment really can provide long-acting and sustained pain relief and so far, I’m delighted with Jack’s recovery and the improvements he’s reported.”
Dr Jack adds; “Based on my experience, it’s a straightforward, quick, and precise procedure and, once numbed with a local anaesthetic, it’s relatively painless. The recovery has been encouraging and I was certainly back on my feet and enjoying sports, pastimes, and everyday activities in no time – and most importantly, with much less reliance on anti-inflammatory medication.”
This Spring, Jack will certainly put the Arthrosamid® treatment to the test, with a long-awaited return to the ski slopes, a programme of hockey matches as part of his Club’s Senior team and lots of dog walking in the fine weather and lighter evenings! But it’s hoped – as supported by existing and emerging evidence – that the cushioning effect of the hydrogel injections will keep Jack pain-free and will certainly help to ‘buy time’ before he needs to consider the possibility of knee replacement surgery.