Though there is no specific cure for osteoarthritis of the knee, there are various treatment options available. The major goal of treatment is to relieve pain and restore function. In the initial stages, arthritis of the knee could be treated with conservative, nonsurgical methods such as changes in activity level, using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), physical therapy, and corticosteroid injections.
Another recommended treatment option is viscosupplementation. In this process, a viscous fluid called hyaluronic acid is injected into the knee joint. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance that is present in the synovial fluid. Hyaluronic acid acts as a lubricant and allows the bones to glide smoothly over each other. It also acts as a shock absorber for joint loads.
People with osteoarthritis have a low concentration of hyaluronic acid in their joints. Viscosupplementation is a therapeutic option for people who suffer from osteoarthritis of the knee.
During the procedure, if there is any swelling or inflammation in your knee, your doctor will aspirate or remove the excess fluids before injecting the hyaluronic acid. This can be done at the same time with only one needle injected into the knee joint. However, some doctors may prefer to use two separate syringes for this purpose. You will receive one to five injections over several weeks.
Viscosupplementation is highly effective if the arthritis is in its early stages. Some patients are likely to feel pain at the injection site and the injections could result in increased swelling. It may take several weeks to recover after Viscosupplementation. If the injections prove effective, they may be repeated after a certain period of time, generally 6 months.