07 Dec Viscosupplementation Won’t “Cure” Knee OA—It Just Might Feel Like It Did
Osteoarthritis, or OA, commonly occurs in the knee. It’s one of the most common complaints at Integrated Pain Consultants and we offer a variety of treatments for all types of pain. Viscosupplementation for OA in the knee can go a long way in offering pain relief and even delaying knee surgery. Unlike other types of joint inflammation, OA is a degenerative joint disease that largely affects cartilage. As our cartilage degenerates with time and use, it increasingly allows bones to touch one another as the “shock absorber” disappears.
A young, healthy knee has synovial fluid inside of it. This fluid is gel-like and helps to provide lubrication and cushioning. Just as your cartilage breaks down, your natural synovial fluid also decreases. The result is pain, limited range of motion, and inflammation with OA. Viscosupplementation can bring back some of that lubrication, resulting in quick relief.
Viscosupplementation: Almost as Good as the Real Thing
Viscosupplementation is the injection of hyaluronic acid in the knee. This is a material already found naturally in the body. There’s no cure for OA, so viscosupplementation isn’t a cure. However, it can help lubricate the knee and minimize pain while improving mobility. It can help you get back to the activities you love with minimal downtime. The only expected side effects from viscosupplementation are some minor bruising and swelling that would occur with any such injection.
A good candidate for this procedure has already tried other more conservative methods of pain relief. Most patients require 3 – 5 injections spaced one week apart. Not everyone finds relief with this approach, but if you do then you’ll typically start feeling a reduction in pain during the 3 – 5 week course. Maximum relief is usually reported 8 – 12 weeks after the first injection and it can last up to six months. If you have OA in the knee, schedule a detailed consultation or book your appointment online or by calling (480) 626-2552 to learn more about your options.