Author: Mike Sumko, M.D.
As I shared in my last blog post, knee pain is one of the most common ailments adult patients communicate to their physicians. In patients with osteoarthritis, knee pain occurs as a result of cartilage breakdown. (Cartilage is a cushioning material in the knee joint that keeps bones from rubbing against each other when you use your knee.)
Viscosupplementation for Knee Pain
If your knee pain hasn’t improved through more conservative treatments like over-the-counter medication and physical therapy, then your physician may have mentioned an option called “viscosupplementation.” Viscosupplementation is a treatment that involves injecting sodium hyaluronate (a thick lubricating agent that naturally occurs in the human body) into the damaged knee joint.
What Does Hyaluronate Do?
Hyaluronate helps absorb shock and lubricate the joint. As a result, many patients are able to use their knee again with less discomfort. While you probably won’t be able to run laps after viscosupplementation, you may be able to walk, get up from a chair, and get around without all of the pain and discomfort that currently limits your mobility.
Do I Get One Injection? Multiple Injections?
Typically, patients undergo three to five injections, allowing about one week between each appointment. If viscosupplementation is right for your arthritis, your physician will provide you with an injection schedule appropriate for your case.
When Will Knee Pain Improve?
Some patients experience pain relief towards the end of the injection series (around the three- to five-week mark). For most patients, however, the greatest relief comes eight to 12 weeks after the initial injection.
How Long Do the Results of Viscosupplementation Last?
First, it’s important to emphasize that viscosupplementation is not successful in all patients. If the therapy is successful, however, results can last for six months or more, making it a very desirable therapy for many patients with knee pain.
Are There Any Side Effects I Should Know About?
Some patients experience immediate mild swelling following an injection. Applying an ice pack to the area should reduce the inflammation. In very rare cases, patients may have an allergic reaction to the injection. As with any injection procedure, there is always a very low risk of infection or bleeding.
Schedule An Appointment to Treat Knee Pain
Viscosupplementation is one of many treatments for arthritis that is available at Hedley Orthopaedic Institute. To learn more about your options for treating knee pain in Phoenix, contact us via our website, or call 602-553-3113. You don’t have to let knee pain control your life. Schedule an appointment today.
Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.