Chronic knee pain that’s caused by arthritis is an unpleasant situation that many people across the nation have to experience every day.
If you’re affected by knee osteoarthritis and are seeking knee pain relief, there is another option where others have failed. Viscosupplementation is a series of injections for knee pain that is caused by arthritis. Knee treatment by Viscosupplementation involves a hyaluronic acid injection that reduces inflammation and tries to supplement the naturally occurring acid in the knee. Hyaluronic acid acts as a shock absorber and lubricant for joints to glide smoothly over each other. Though, the acid seems to deteriorate in people with osteoarthritis.
The goals of this knee pain treatment for osteoarthritis are to reduce pain, improve joint movement by increasing joint lubrication, decreasing joint friction and inflammation, possibly even slow the progression of osteoarthritis.
How is Viscosupplementation Performed?
The procedure for hyaluronic acid injection is fairly simple and straightforward. First, your knee is wiped clean with a disinfectant, such as alcohol or iodine. You will most likely be asked to relax your leg in order to help the knee injections go smoothly. This will also make the injection less uncomfortable.
Your doctor may offer a local anesthetic, such as lidocaine, to numb the area. If there is fluid on the knee, your doctor will remove this fluid with a needle and syringe to make room for the hyaluronic acid injection.
Using a fresh, sterile syringe, the doctor will inject the hyaluronic acid on one side of the knee. The injection area will then be dressed and bandaged. You may be instructed to straighten and bend your knee several times to help disperse the gel throughout the knee joint.
These knee injections may be administered weekly for three to five weeks to see significant improvement.
What are the Risks for Viscosupplementation?
Hyaluronic acid injection is ordinarily rated a safe procedure although, like any medical procedure, there could be some possible side effects and risks. The most common side effects of this procedure include mild swelling and pain at the injection site.
Risks are quite uncommon for this knee pain treatment, though they can include pseudo-septic arthritic reactions. Pseudo-septic arthritis is a severe inflammatory response at the injection site. If this condition happens, it is regularly detected in the first three days of treatment and can be treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Other possible risks include infections, allergic reactions, or bursitis, however, these reactions are much rarer. If these symptoms do occur though, you should consult your doctor immediately.
Viscosupplementation is a simple, easy treatment for those seeking knee pain relief where other treatments have failed. Following this treatment, symptoms will improve and you should have less pain and better functional mobility. Doctors typically recommend a period of 12 to 24 hours of rest directly after viscosupplementation. Resting after the injection helps to lessen site pain and also reduces the possibility of hyaluronic acid being flushed from the joint capsule.
During the rest period, you can perform simple, low-impact movements, like slow, short walks. Running, carrying heavy objects, and other high impact activities should be avoided throughout this period.
If you have tried other methods for knee pain relief that simply didn’t help, have moderate osteoarthritis, or are trying to avoid knee surgery, Viscosupplementation may be the answer. Consult with your doctor to determine if this treatment is right for you. If you’re interested in learning more about this procedure, click here to see more information.