It used to be that your knees only ached after being on your feet all day or after exercise. These days, your knees start off stiff and achy and only go downhill from there.
While there’s no cure for OA, no matter which joints this degenerative disease strikes, there are ways in which we can preserve your ability to move without pain. At Spine & Orthopedic Center, Dr. Rajiv Sood and the team have had great success with hyaluronic acid injections, also called viscosupplementation, in combating knee pain.
It’s important to understand what we’re up against with a large majority of chronically achy knees to understand why viscosupplementation works so well.
Osteoarthritis, also known as wear-and-tear arthritis, occurs when the cartilage inside your joints breaks down. Cartilage is a soft, viscous tissue that covers the ends of the bones in your joints and promotes smooth gliding between surfaces.
Unfortunately, your cartilage doesn’t enjoy a good supply of blood, which means it can’t regenerate and repair itself. So, once the cartilage breaks down, there's no turning back the clock.
The primary goal behind viscosupplementation is to restore lubrication inside your knees. To do this, we turn to hyaluronic acid (HA), which is a naturally occurring substance already produced by your body.
HA is found in your skin, eyes, and the synovial fluid in your joints. It has an impressive ability to retain moisture — a quarter teaspoon can hold about 1.5 gallons of water.
We introduce HA through injections into your knee joints, where the substance can compensate for lost cartilage and restore lubrication within these large joints.
If we find that you might benefit from HA injections, the procedure is fairly straightforward.
First, we numb the area where we’ll inject the HA. Once you’re comfortable, we use a fluoroscope (live X-ray) to guide the needle into position. We first inject a dye to confirm that the needle is targeting the right area.
After this confirmation, we switch out the cartridge on the needle and inject the HA, which bonds with the synovial fluid in your knee(s).
Most people benefit from a series of HA injections (1-5), and when they’re complete, you should be able to use your knees more comfortably.
If you’d like to explore whether HA injections hold the key to resolving your knee pain, please contact our office in Jonesboro, Georgia, to schedule an appointment.