What is nSTRIDE?
nSTRIDE is a new treatment for osteoarthritis of the joints, particularly in the knee. It is known as an ‘autologous’ protein injection, meaning it contains proteins that have been taken from your own body. nSTRIDE involves taking a blood sample from your arm and processing the blood to separate out a protein-rich liquid. This liquid is then injected back into your knee joint to help alleviate the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
How does nSTRIDE work?
In a healthy knee, cartilage cells usually cushion and lubricate the joint, allowing it to move freely. In osteoarthritis, there is an excess of inflammatory proteins within the joint and this leads to the destruction of these cartilage cells. This results in friction, causing pain and stiffness.
nSTRIDE involves using anti-inflammatory proteins to prevent the breakdown of cartilage cells, as well as growth factors that stimulate cartilage cell regrowth. The injection can help to slow down the progression of osteoarthritis and may even reverse its effects in some cases. The aim is to improve the function in your knee joint, allowing you to regain your mobility.
What are the benefits over surgery or PRP therapy?
nSTRIDE is an alternative treatment for osteoarthritis and it has a number of benefits over surgery. nSTRIDE is a much simpler procedure and can be performed in your doctor’s office with a single injection in your knee. You will be able to walk out on the same day and will not need to be admitted to hospital. It also carries fewer risks compared with surgery, as you will not need an anaesthetic, and you are less likely to get an infection in your joint. Additionally, for people suffering from moderate arthritis, keyhole surgery is often not very effective so nSTRIDE may be a better option. In severe cases of arthritis, however, nSTRIDE is not a substitute for a total knee replacement.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy is a similar treatment that involves injecting your own platelets, taken from a blood sample, into the knee joint. Like nSTRIDE, it works by using growth factors to promote cartilage healing, but it does not include anti-inflammatory proteins. nSTRIDE has some key differences compared to PRP. It requires a shorter rest period of 2 weeks rather than 4 weeks, and it is a one-off injection, whereas PRP can require up to three injections.
What to expect during the procedure
On the day, it will take around 20-30 minutes to complete the whole procedure, from taking a sample of your blood to injecting the solution. The injection itself will be roughly 3ml of oil-like fluid and it is usually not too uncomfortable.
It is normal to experience some knee pain and stiffness for up to 2 days after your nSTRIDE injection. You may also notice some bruising around your knee. To gain the most benefit, you should try to minimise your activity for 14 days after the injection. Following treatment, around 85% of people will see an improvement in their symptoms and you can expect your pain to be reduced after about 1 week.
There is, unfortunately, no cure for osteoarthritis, so your symptoms may return eventually. It is hoped that successful nSTRIDE treatment will alleviate pain and stiffness, and improve your knee mobility for at least 12 months.