What is a genicular nerve block?

  • In patients with knee osteoarthritis with pain, pain may become unbearable
  • A genicular nerve block is a type of nerve block done to target pain in the front part of the knee

Who should consider a genicular nerve block:

  • Patients with chronic knee pain secondary to osteoarthritis
  • Patients with a previous knee replacement who still have pain
  • Patients who want to avoid or delay surgery

How is it done?

  • A diagnostic injection is performed first
  • Your provider will target three specific nerve branches: the superior medial, superior lateral and inferior medial nerve branches
  • If this injection relieves >50% of your pain, even temporarily (1-2 hours), your provider may recommend “ablation” of the nerves for longer term pain relief
  • Your provider may use ultrasound or x-ray to perform the injection.
  • Relief may last days to years. 
    • This allows you to focus on physical therapy and home exercises to strengthen and stabilize the muscles or surrounding area.
  • You will remain awake and aware during the procedure.


  • Most people can walk around immediately after. You will be monitored for a period of time, and may need a ride home.
  • You may resume full activity the next day.
  • Mild bruising and soreness around the injection site may occur. 
    • Applying ice for a few days may reduce inflammation and pain
  • Recording pain levels for a few days or weeks may help to track the level of relief achieved


  • Potential risks with inserting a needle include bleeding, infection, allergic reaction, headache, and nerve damage (rare). 
  • Please notify the provider if the injection site becomes infected (fever or drainage at the injection site) or inflamed (redness, swelling, pain at the site), or if you suspect nerve injury.