Ozone gas injections may do the trick for knee osteoarthritis sufferers
Injecting ozone gas into the knee reduces pain and improves functioning and quality of life in people with knee osteoarthritis, according to research presented at the American College of Rheumatology annual meeting in November.
Ozone gas consists of three atoms of oxygen and shows promise to reduce inflammation and balance free radicals in the body. The researchers, led by Carlos César Lopes de Jesus and Virginia Fernandes Moça Trevisani, followed 98 people over the course of the study, in which 63 of the participants received 10ml injections of ozone and 35 received 10ml injections of air as a placebo. All of the participants had similar socioeconomic backgrounds, and only two participants (both in the ozone group) did not finish the study.
The researchers performed several evaluations of the participants at the beginning of the study as well as after their fourth and eight injections and eight weeks after their last injection. They looked at changes in pain, function and ability to sit, stand and walk, as well as other quality of life indicators.
Timed up and go tests (TUG tests) were performed to evaluate the time it takes a participant to stand up, walk a set distance, return and sit, and there were no significant differences in how the two groups performed in these tests. The group on ozone therapy, however, showed significantly better results in tests that measured pain, function and overall health. An evaluation of quality of life (obtained using the Short Form-36 Health Survey) revealed that participants in the ozone group reported improvement in all areas that pertain to quality of life after their fourth injection.
“We think the work means that ozone can give the patient a better quality of life with less pain and more independence in daily life activities,” the authors explained. “Ozone is also capable of delaying the need for joint replacement surgery. It is a tool for the clinician to reduce pain or to help control it.”
The researchers believe that more studies are needed to confirm their results and to show that ozone may be an alternative treatment option for patients who suffer with osteoarthritis. Their next step is to initiate a similar study evaluating the patients with a CT scan or ultrasound.
Jesus, C., et al. (2015) Comparison between intra articular ozone and placebo in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. American College of Rheumatology Meeting Abstracts no. 311