Osteoarthritis is a painful and prevalent condition, affecting more than 30 million people in the US. It occurs in joints, causing degeneration of the joint over time due to wear-and-tear. Osteoarthritis breaks down the cartilage in your joint, which cushions bones to prevent bone-to-bone friction. This bone-to-bone contact can cause pain and make walking or other movements difficult.
Your age, genetics, weight, and previous injuries to the joints can all exacerbate the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
It’s important to be vigilant if you experience symptoms of osteoarthritis so that you can try conservative approaches before your only treatment option becomes more invasive, like surgery. For example, your doctor may first recommend losing weight, exercising, physical therapy, and pain management options.
If these early conservative approaches do not alleviate your symptoms, you may want to try viscosupplementation.
The reason people with osteoarthritis experience pain in the joint is due to a lack of hyaluronic acid in the fluid within your joint. Also, the fluid in the area is not as thick as it should be in order to lubricate your joints for easy movement.
Viscosupplementation can ease the pain of osteoarthritis through injections that replenish what is lacking in the joint’s synovial fluid. It is typically used to treat osteoarthritis of the knee.
During viscosupplementation treatment, your doctor will inject a gel-like hyaluronic acid directly into the joint to increase lubrication in the area. Researchers believe this could also promote the natural production of hyaluronic acid within the joint.
While these injections may seem like a magical fix, there is always the possibility that damage to the joint may be too severe for viscosupplementation to help. If the joint has already reached the stage where bone-to-bone contact is taking place, you will quite possibly be looking at surgery such as a partial or full joint replacement.
Viscosupplementation can make it much easier to walk, sit, and perform everyday tasks. On top of that, it can significantly reduce swelling and pain, since your joint should have plenty more lubrication than it did before the procedure.
It is important to follow up with your orthopedic doctor after viscosupplementation injections to determine whether to continue to treatment long-term.
If you or a loved one is suffering from osteoarthritis and feel you are out of options, contact the office of Dr. William F. Hefley today about trying viscosupplementation injections for your knee joint pain. Call us at (800) 336-2412 or simply use our online appointment request form to schedule your consultation. We look forward to helping you restore your mobility.