If you have osteoarthritis, you know that the pain from the condition is almost unbearable. The weight-bearing joints are especially affected by arthritis, leading to degradation of the cartilage that cushions the ends of the leg bones.
When the cartilage is damaged severely, the bones will rub against each other, making it impossible to walk. The inability to walk without pain can make daily living difficult, and a patient may not want to have an invasive surgical procedure to repair the cartilage in the knees or other damaged joints.
Fortunately, there are noninvasive procedures such as viscosupplementation. Your knees and other joints contain a substance that is similar to gel that is designed to cushion the cartilage and bones.
The Importance of Synovial Fluid
This thick hyaluronic acid is an important component of your joint’s natural synovial fluid. If you have osteoarthritis in your joints, then an injection of additional hyaluronic acid is essential. While this procedure is not a permanent cure, it can reduce your knee or joint pain significantly. There are multiple benefits from viscosupplementation, including:
- Making it easier for you to walk, recline and sit
- Reducing swelling and discomfort in an affected joint
- Improving your daily lifestyle
Before using viscosupplementation, your surgeon might suggest other treatments such as pain medication, physical therapy or weight loss. When these other treatments are not effective, it is time to consider viscosupplementation injections into a damaged joint such as the knee.
Treatment Includes Several Injections
A treatment with hyaluronic acid requires three to five injections at weekly intervals. After the hyaluronic acid enters the joint, most patients begin to feel less pain gradually after each treatment.
Within eight weeks, you will likely notice a major change in the pain level in the treated joint. Viscosupplementation can relieve your pain for up to six months, but you may require new injections later. The hyaluronic acid helps to cushion the joint, reducing the inflammation and stiffness in a knee. With less pain, many patients are able to return to work or a normal lifestyle that includes exercise.