If you have osteoarthritis in your knees, you know how painful it can be. As the cartilage wears away and the protective fluid dissipates, you’re left with the painful rubbing of bone on bone.
Although osteoarthritis can’t be cured, there are several ways to relieve the painful symptoms, including:
- Weight loss if you're overweight
- Exercise to strengthen supporting muscles and increase flexibility
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Injections of corticosteroids
- Physical therapy
- Cold therapy
- Braces and taping
If you’ve tried these measures with little to no effect, you may be a good candidate for viscosupplementation. Our team here at CHOICE Pain & Rehabilitation Center offers this potentially life-changing treatment to patients suffering from mild-to-moderate knee osteoarthritis.
Inside the osteoarthritic knee
Your leg bones meet in your knee joint and connect to one another in a complex network of ligaments, muscles, and tendons. Each bone is capped in a coating of cartilage that provides a smooth surface and reduces friction when the bones touch. The cartilage is typically covered by a slippery solution of hyaluronic acid. Together, they serve as a cushion to absorb shock and keep the joint lubricated.
Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage begins to wear away, which may be the result of several factors, including advancing age, your gender — women over age 55 are highly susceptible — genetics, and injuries.
You’re knee may have osteoarthritis if it is:
- Audibly cracking
- Feeling warm to the touch
- Less flexible
- Making it hard for you to get in and out of chairs and cars
Osteoarthritis is a progressive condition with no cure, but you can slow down the advancement and find real relief from your symptoms by staying mobile, watching your weight, and using anti-inflammatories when needed.
Viscosupplementation for knee osteoarthritis
When conservative treatments don’t help, and before you resort to surgery, there’s another treatment that may work — viscosupplementation.
Viscosupplementation delivers hyaluronic acid directly into your joint to replace the lubrication robbed by osteoarthritis. Since your body naturally produces hyaluronic acid, there’s little chance of any negative side effects.
After your injection, you may feel slight warmth and mild discomfort at the injection site for a little while, but an ice pack should help. Viscosupplementation doesn’t deliver immediate pain relief, so don’t be surprised if it takes 2-3 weeks for the lubrication to make a difference.
Keep in mind that viscosupplementation doesn’t work for everyone. But, if it does work, you may enjoy pain relief for up to six months, at which point you can have another viscosupplementation injection.
To learn more about viscosupplementation and to find out if it may be able to relieve your knee osteoarthritis pain, book an appointment online or over the phone with CHOICE Pain & Rehabilitation Center today.