Viscosupplementation Injection Treatment
Viscosupplementation injections are a treatment that has become available for arthritis in the knee. These injections specifically help osteoarthritis in the knee, which is a form of arthritis that generally develops due to wear and tear and/or aging. While this treatment may not be available or recommended for all arthritis patients, it can make a huge difference in a person’s ability to function normally and have a better quality of life. It is also safe and effective.
What is Osteoarthritis in the Knee?
Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis that comes from the wearing down of the knee joint. You use your knee joint all day, every day to accomplish the basic everyday functions like walking, sitting, standing, and many other things. Over time, especially for very active individuals, the cartilage in the knee can wear away or even become fragile with age. When cartilage is healthy, it acts like a shock absorber for the knee. There is also fluid inside the joint called synovial fluid that lubricates and protects the bones, but this becomes less effective when the bones are not cushioned by healthy cartilage. While there is no cure for osteoarthritis, there are treatments available including viscosupplementation injections to help patients manage their symptoms.
When to Try Viscosupplementation Injections
So for many patients with osteoarthritis, symptoms start slowly and become worse with time. If a patient gets treatment early on, they may be able to slow the progression of symptoms. Other treatments like physical therapy, medications, and even surgery can help patients with osteoarthritis manage their symptoms. However, not all patients experience relief with these treatments, or possibly have other conditions that keep them from utilizing those treatments. Once a patient has tried other forms of treatment without success, a doctor may recommend viscosupplementation injections for mild to severe cases of osteoarthritis in the knee.
Viscosupplementation injections are done through injecting hyaluronic acid into the knee joint itself. This acid occurs naturally in the synovial fluid, which is what lubricates and protects the knee. This is actually a gel-like substance that will protect the injured and worn down joint. When this lubricating fluid is injected, the patient should begin to notice that they can move more smoothly and hopefully it will reduce swelling and pain. These injections are very safe, usually with minor side effects. Unfortunately, Viscosupplementation injections do not work for every patient. For most patients, it takes about 8-12 weeks after treatment to begin to notice the benefits. Some patients even experience pain relief for up to 6 months after the injections.
So once a doctor has recommended the injections, you will need to go to a trained doctor who can inject the hyaluronic acid directly into the knee joint. This must be done with extreme care and precision, so you may need to go to a hospital or a specialist doctor. For some patients with severe knee complications, the doctor may need to use an ultrasound or x-ray machine to ensure that the needle placement is ideal. The recommended course of treatment is 3-5 injections with a week span between each one. The doctor may also inject a numbing medication first, and possibly drain the knee joint before injection. This in itself may actually reduce pain for some patients as well.
Why Choose Viscosupplementation Injections?
While this procedure may seem complicated, in actuality it is much more simple and less invasive than most surgeries would be to correct osteoarthritis. Some patients are not able to have surgeries, and viscosupplementation injections are a great way to manage pain and swelling without performing an osteoarthritis surgery. If the injections work for you and help you, you may be able to have the injections every 6 months or so. If you are trying to delay surgery, this can be a great way to help you wait until you are ready.
Osteoarthritis Treatment and You
When you have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, especially in the knees, it is extremely important to have a caring and understanding doctor. Having the right care plan for you makes an enormous difference in your happiness and health. If you are experiencing osteoarthritis symptoms, make an appointment with us today. We will make sure that you are well cared for and have everything you need to start healing. Knee pain can be difficult to deal with, but we have years of experience in caring for knee problems and providing excellent treatment plans. Get started on your care plan so that you can enjoy the benefits of better treatment and wellness.