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How Viscosupplementation Therapy Can Treat Your Arthritis

How Viscosupplementation Therapy Can Treat Your Arthritis

Living with osteoarthritis is challenging at times. It can limit your mobility, which affects your ability to go out and do the things you want to do. Arthritis of the knee, in particular, is one of the leading causes of disability in the United States.

You may already have tried many nonsurgical treatments to find relief from your arthritis pain, but viscosupplementation therapy is an option that you may not have considered or even heard of. A number of patients find that it provides effective relief to allow them to get out and get living again.

The physicians at Glaser Pain Relief Center have created this guide to viscosupplementation therapy so you can determine if it may be an option for treating your arthritis pain.

What is viscosupplementation therapy?

Viscosupplementation therapy involves injections of a gel-like fluid called hyaluronic acid, a fluid that occurs naturally in the body. Your provider injects this fluid directly into your knee joint to reduce the inflammation and swelling that makes osteoarthritis of the knee so uncomfortable.

When you have osteoarthritis, the cartilage inside the knee breaks down, leading the joints of your knee to rub painfully against each other. The naturally occurring hyaluronic acid that helps lubricate your joints also diminishes over time. Viscosupplementation works to replace the hyaluronic acid to help reduce the pain, stiffness, and swelling in your knee.

What to expect

Viscosupplementation is performed on an outpatient basis, which means you can go home after the procedure. It doesn’t require hospitalization. 

Your provider first numbs the injection site and may have the fluid around your knee joint drained, a procedure called a fluid aspiration. When the joint is ready, we inject the space around your knee joint with the hyaluronic acid.

For the first 48 hours after receiving the injection, you should avoid any activities that place excessive strain on your knee, such as heavy lifting, jumping, or running.

You may experience pain, minor swelling, and warmth around the knee joint after the shot, but these fade. It can take several days to even several weeks to receive the full benefit of viscosupplementation therapy, so don’t be disappointed if your pain doesn’t disappear immediately after the procedure.

The long-term outlook

It often takes time for you to fully notice pain relief following viscosupplementation. This therapy tends to be most effective for mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis, although some people who have osteoarthritis of the hip and others with rheumatoid arthritis have experienced benefits as well.

Sometimes, people may need more than one injection of hyaluronic acid to experience the full benefit of the procedure, which is often the case with joint injections. Once the effects of viscosupplementation start to work, you can expect the relief to last for several months.

If you have osteoarthritis and haven’t found relief from other treatments, it’s time to consider whether viscosupplementation therapy might be right for you. Contact the physicians at Glaser Pain Relief Center today for a consultation by calling the office or requesting an appointment via our online tool.

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