Millions of Americans have osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint condition that causes pain, swelling, and stiffness. Arthritis can develop in any joint, but it’s particularly common in the knee.
Knee arthritis is characterized by increasing pain, joint instability, and poor range of motion. There’s no cure for arthritis, and it can severely impact your activity level and your quality of life.
There is an abundance of conservative treatment options for arthritis, from physical therapy to oral pain relievers. But these methods aren’t always enough. When you’ve tried all the common conservative treatments for arthritis but you still have significant pain, it can be frustrating.
Anthony Lee, MD, and our expert team at Synergy Rehabilitation & Wellness understand how knee arthritis can limit your life. When conservative treatments aren’t enough, you don’t always have to turn to surgery.
Viscosupplementation can be an effective treatment to resolve knee pain associated with osteoarthritis. Read on to learn more about this revolutionary treatment.
How viscosupplementation works for knee arthritis
Healthy, non-arthritic joints have fluid that lubricates the cartilage between bones. Called synovial fluid, it helps your joint move smoothly by keeping cartilage slick and soft.
When you have knee osteoarthritis, there’s less fluid in your joint. Drier joints are more likely to be stiffer and more painful, exacerbating arthritis symptoms. In some cases, loss of fluid can even accelerate joint deterioration.
Hyaluronic acid is an element of synovial fluid that helps make it slippery. Viscosupplementation is an injectable treatment that restores hyaluronic acid to your joint capsule.
Adding hyaluronic acid to your knee joint with viscosupplementation can increase lubrication in your joint. It makes moving easier and less painful, and some research shows that this treatment may stimulate your body to create more hyaluronic acid naturally.
What to expect with viscosupplementation
Viscosupplementation could be a good treatment option for you if knee arthritis negatively impacts your everyday life. When pain relievers and other conservative treatments aren’t enough, viscosupplementation can relieve pain without the need for surgery.
Dr. Lee may propose viscosupplementation after a comprehensive evaluation of your knee, your symptoms, and your medical history. Depending on the severity of your arthritis, he may recommend a series of one to five viscosupplementation injections.
The injections give the synovial fluid in your knee a boost of hyaluronic acid. While each injection takes just a few minutes to complete, you should avoid strenuous exercise for 48 hours following the procedure.
If you get a series of injections, they may be spaced out over several weeks. You can expect noticeable pain relief to begin developing within a few weeks after you complete your injections.
Most patients who find that their pain is improved with viscosupplementation get up to six months of relief. If you’re happy with your results following viscosupplementation, you can continue to get the injections for long-term pain relief. Our team can develop a treatment schedule that’s right for your symptoms and medical history.
Viscosupplementation can relieve knee pain, but it may not work for everyone. Talk to our team to learn more about your options if you’ve tried conservative treatments for knee arthritis without success.
If you have knee pain due to arthritis, viscosupplementation could make a difference. Schedule a consultation at Synergy Rehabilitation & Wellness by calling 480-563-7648.