This is the first line of treatment whose aim is to relieve the pain due to osteoarthritis of the knee. Normally the drugs that are used include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or ibuprofen. Along with that physical therapy may be used. Apart from that injections of corticosteroid or application of a topical analgesic may also be used. However, some people may react negatively to these NSAIDs. Only temporary relief is brought about by these agents.
The process of viscosupplementation is relatively new. A preparation of hyaluronic acid is injected in the knee joint. This acid is naturally occurring and is mainly found in the synovial fluid. It mainly acts as a lubricant. The bones are enabled to move smoothly over one another. People who are suffering from osteoarthritis have a lower concentration of hyaluronic acid. Thus, this option acts as a therapeutic solution.
Effects of viscosupplementation
The pain of many patients is relieved by this procedure. These patients fail to get relief from analgestic drugs or non medicinal measures. The technique has been in use in many parts of Asia and Europe. However, it was not approved by the FDA till 1997. The effects include:
- An immediate pain-relieving effect is not shown by the Hyluronic acid.
- A local reaction may be noticed. This reaction includes warmth, pain or slight swelling. These symptoms are short lived. One can ease these symptoms by application of an ice pack.
- Excessive weighbearing on legs must be avoided for the first 48 hours.
The long term effects of this technique include:
Due to the injections, less pain is observed in the knee.
- There are pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties in Hyaluronic acid.
Thus, people who fail to respond to basic treatments find viscosupplementation very helpful. This is very effective for arthritis in early stages.