Knee Osteoarthritis and How Viscosupplementation Injections Can Help

The most frequently reported side effects are transitory injection-site ache, swelling, heat, redness, rash, itching, bruising around the joint, and fluid buildup in the injected knee. These reactions are usually mild and short-lived. Infection and bleeding are also uncommon complications with steroid injections. If you have osteoarthritis and your pain will not subside with exercise, physical therapy, weight loss, or pain medications, consult your regenerative medicine doctor to learn how viscosupplementation can help.

Understanding osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a condition that causes constant pain in the knees. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease instead of the temporary pain and inflammation caused by an overactive immune system response. Osteoarthritis primarily affects cartilage. Cartilage is the tissue that wraps around the ends of joint bones. Healthy cartilage acts as a “shock absorber” by allowing bones to glide over one another. A normal knee joint contains a small synovial fluid, a thick, gel-like fluid that cushions the joint and offers lubrication to reduce friction.

Procedures for knee osteoarthritis

Knee osteoarthritis is one of the most common causes of disability in the United States. It takes time to develop, and the pain it causes gets worse over time. Although there is no cure for osteoarthritis, some treatment options can help people manage their pain and stay active. Nonsurgical techniques are used to treat arthritis of the knee in its early stages. Your doctor may suggest various treatments, such as:

  • Changing your routines.
  • Loss of weight.
  • Acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen are pain relievers.
  • Use of physical therapy.
  • Injections of corticosteroids.

Your doctor can also use viscosupplementation to solve your pain. Viscosupplementation is a treatment that includes injecting hyaluronate, a thick fluid, into the knee joint. Hyaluronic acid, a gel-like liquid, is injected into the knee joint during this procedure. Hyaluronic acid is found in the synovial fluid surrounding joints and is a naturally occurring substance. It acts as a shock absorber for joint loads and as a lubricant to allow bones to move smoothly over each other. Hyaluronic acid levels in the joints of people with osteoarthritis are lower than normal. The idea is that injecting hyaluronic acid into an arthritic joint will help it move more freely and reduce pain. Viscosupplementation may be an option if all other nonsurgical therapeutic options have failed and your pain is still limiting your activities.

How quickly do patients experience pain relief after receiving viscosupplementation injections?

The injections do not help all patients. Many patients have reported pain relief during the 3-5week course of injections, while others say pain relief takes longer. Most patients experience pain relief 8 to 12 weeks after starting treatment. The period of pain relief varies; some patients have reported benefits lasting up to 6 months after receiving injections.

While viscosupplementation will not eliminate pain, it is an essential component of a comprehensive chronic pain management plan. When used in conjunction with other recommended treatments, viscosupplementation can assist you in resuming an active lifestyle. Osteoarthritis symptoms can be improved with viscosupplementation, which provides pain relief and increases the range of motion in the affected joint. Call Naples Regenerative Institute or schedule an appointment online to learn more about viscosupplementation.